Guidance

Service family accommodation (SFA)

A guide for service families about applying for, maintaining, moving in and out of service family accommodation.

The provision of good quality living accommodation for service personnel and their families is a top priority for the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

This includes the management of around 50,000 properties, major and minor upgrades and maintenance service; managing the allocation of properties; and conducting move in and move out appointments.

Service family accommodation in Buckinghamshire
Service family accommodation in Buckinghamshire (MOD/Crown Copyright)

The majority of SFA housing in England and Wales is either leased from a private sector company below the current market rate or from Annington Homes Limited (who bought most of the MOD’s housing stock in 1996), or is provided under the government’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Where appropriate, the DIO remains responsible for lease payments and the maintenance and upgrade of leased back properties.

Houses in Northern Ireland and Scotland, and some other areas, are mostly MOD owned. In areas where SFA housing stock is unavailable, service families may be provided with fully-serviced private rented properties, known as substitute service family accommodation (SSFA). This accommodation is sourced and leased on behalf of the MOD by a specialised contractor (the HCR Group).

Check out the A-Z of SFA customer guide. This and the other guides provide you with easy to follow information and advice on important issues while living in your service family accommodation (SFA).

Entitlement for SFA and SSFA

To be entitled to apply for SFA, service personnel must:

  • be aged 18 and over
  • be married or in a civil partnership or who have permanent custody of children
  • have at least 6 months to serve

SFA is at service personnel’s duty station; although you may be eligible to apply for surplus SFA at other locations.

The type of property you are entitled to is usually dependent on your rank for officers and family size for other ranks. When you apply for SFA, the Housing Allocations Service Centre (HASC) will allocate you a property using the preferences you have expressed and based on your entitlement or eligibility.

Full details on entitlement and eligibility for UK SFA and Substitute service family accommodation (SSFA) are available in:

Full details on entitlement and eligibility for overseas SFA and SSFA are available in:

SFA costs

Charges for service family accommodation (SFA) for service personnel are set by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body and are published in ‘JSP 754: tri-service Regulations for Pay and Charges’ (only available via the Defence Intranet).

The MoneyForce website (which is supported by the MOD) also contains information about charges for SFA on its ‘Where will you live’ page and provides the latest accommodation charges on its What you will have to pay for page.

Full details on ‘grade for charge’ are available in:

Applying for and allocation of SFA

To find out the SFA application process please visit: SFA application flowcharts which shows the process whether using the electonic or paper version of the form.

e-1132 form

If you are entitled, you will need to complete and submit an application for SFA. For service personnel with access to a MOD computer system that has access to the Defence Intranet, you are expected to complete your application online using the: e-1132 form system.

The e-1132 form system allows you to:

  • to track the progress of your application
  • view available properties that match your entitlement
  • register your top 3 preferences
  • book your ‘move in’ (once an offer for a property has been made and accepted,)
  • where appropriate your ‘move out’ appointment
  • electronically signing your licence to occupy.

MOD Form 1132

For service personnel who do not have access to an MOD computer system that has access to the Defence Intranet, a paper version of the MOD Form 1132: application to occupy service family accommodation (SFA) is available for personnel who are on operations and do not have access to the Defence Intranet.

Housing Allocations Service Centre (HASC)

If you have an allocations enquiry, the HASC is the primary point of contact. The HASC has 7 dedicated teams which cover different parts of the UK. The Housing Allocations Service Centre (HASC) map to find out which helpdesk to contact be email. Alternatively, you can contact the HASC by phone.

A member of staff from the Housing Allocations Service Centre (HASC) handling an service family accommodation allocation enquiry
A member of staff from the Housing Allocations Service Centre (HASC) handling an SFA allocation enquiry (MOD/Crown Copyright)

Please email the appropriate HASC team in the first instance. Alternatively you can write to them or contact them by phone.

HASC Team and region covered Email address
Team 1: All London locations, Kent and the Brize Norton area dioopsaccn-hascteam1@mod.uk
Team 2: Hampshire and Surrey areas including Portsmouth and Aldershot dioopsaccn-hascteam2@mod.uk
Team 3: Salisbury Plain Training Area, including Andover, Bulford and Larkhill dioopsaccn-hascteam3@mod.uk
Team 4: south west including Devon, Cornwall and the Bristol areas dioopsaccn-hascteam4@mod.uk
Team 5: Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England dioopsaccn-hascteam5@mod.uk
Team 6: western England, north Wales, Midlands and Norfolk and Lincolnshire dioopsaccn-hascteam6@mod.uk
Team 7: south Wales, Gloucestershire, High Wycombe area and south Anglia dioopsaccn-hascteam7@mod.uk

For enquires about loss of entitlement to SFA resulting from retirement, discharge or estrangement, please telephone the HASC and press Option 8. Alternatively, you can contact the team by email: dioopsaccn-hascteam8@mod.uk

The HASC phone lines are open 8.30 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday (except on Thursday, when they close at 12pm for staff training and development).

Freephone: 0800 169 6322 (for calls made within the UK, mobile users may incur charges and are advised to use the standard rate 01904 number below).

Telephone: 01904 418 000 ( for calling from overseas or a mobile with an inclusive call package, normal telephone charges apply)

Military telephone network: 94510 80 00

The telephone system will direct you to the correct team but if you are unsure which HASC Team to contact or on geographical boundaries, please refer to the HASC map.

Or write to:

HASC Aldershot
Building 3, ABRO
Ordnance Road
Aldershot
GU11 2AA
Fax: 01252 318 591/348 636

HASC Thetford
Building 29
Barnham Camp
Thetford Road
Barnham
Thetford
Norfolk
IP24 2DJ
Fax: 01842 890975

Substitute service family accommodation (SSFA) helpdesk

For enquiries relating to SSFA, please contact the Substitute Accommodation Team (SAT)

Telephone: 01480 52451 Ext: 8681
Military: 95371 8681
Email: dioopsaccn-hqsubaccom@mod.uk

Please note that SSFA can only be sourced once you have obtained a ‘Non availability certificate’ (NAC) from the HASC.

When to apply

You need to apply to the HASC covering your new location as soon as you receive your ‘assignment order’.

Applications made within 4 months of your posting date, should receive an offer from DIO Service Delivery Accommodation within 15 working days. Applications made earlier than this, may receive an early offer, however, DIO Service Delivery Accommodation is not obliged to do so until the 4 month point.

If you already live in an SFA, you are required to notify the Housing Allocations Service Centre (HASC) that you have been assigned within 14 days of receiving your Assignment Order. It is also mandatory that you book a ‘pre move out advisory visit’ with the HASC 2 months before your ‘move out’.

Eligible service personnel may also apply for service family accommodation at other times, such as on getting married or when you wish to move from private accommodation to SFA. In these cases, applicants should submit e-1132 or MOD form 1132 as early as possible in advance of the required ‘move in’ date.

You are asked to provide the date you require the property, this is known as your ‘required date’ and can be any date you choose as long as it is within 28 days either side of your ‘assignment date’. You can also specify any personal preferences on your application form and where possible, these will be taken into account.

If you are applying for SFA, and currently reside in SFA, please remember to book your removals. Agility Logistics Limited (Agility) is the MOD approved service provider for removals and is part of the Global Removal Management Services (GRMS).

Additional needs/Special requirements for SFA

Please provide details of any special requirements for SFA at the point of application using the e-1132 form or the MOD Form 1132, enclosing any reports from the appropriate professional source. It is important that DIO Service Delivery Accommodation is made aware of special requirements at the earliest opportunity.

Please read the SFA additional needs adaptation flowchart for guidance on the process.

Offer of SFA

DIO Service Delivery Accommodation will confirm the offer and address of the SFA 28 days prior to your ‘required date’. If for any reason we are unable to confirm the original offer you will be offered either alternative SFA, substitute SFA (but only in exceptional circumstances), or the option to remain on the waiting list.

If you refuse the offer because it is not to your entitlement, DIO Service Delivery Accommodation will try and make a further offer within the original 15 working days.

If you refuse the offer for personal reasons, DIO Service Delivery Accommodation will try and make you a further offer within 15 working days. Depending on availability however, this could be the same property.

You are not likely to be granted permission to retain SFA at your old duty station and therefore you may need to make your own arrangements for accommodation whilst you wait for a second offer.

Full details on the policy for the application and allocation of UK SFA are available in:

Moving in

When you accept an offer of an SFA property you should arrange a ‘move in’ appointment using the e-1132 system.

A Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) housing officer outside a Service Family Accommodation (SFA) property in Wiltshire
A Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) Housing Officer outside a Service Family Accommodation (SFA) property in Wiltshire (MOD/Crown Copyright)

At the agreed date and time, a Housing Officer will meet you at the property and show you around, which will give you the opportunity to:

  • familiarise yourself with your new home, its fixtures, fittings and appliances
  • read electricity/gas meters and measure levels in oil tanks
  • take possession of the keys
  • identify who is responsible for any repair or maintenance queries
  • confirm that there is a valid Gas Safety Certificate in the SFA
  • complete and sign the move in documentation

Please note that the ‘move in’ can only take place during normal working hours.

You can give your spouse/civil partner or a service colleague written authority (known as a ‘Proxy certificate’) to sign the inventory on your behalf if you are unable to attend the ‘move in’ appointment.

If you are moving from one SFA (not substitute SFA) to another, you have 2 weeks to hand it back, provided you do so within this time you will only be charged for one property. If you exceed this period you may be charged for both properties.

Welcome pack

Service personnel and their families moving into SFA will receive a welcome pack from the Housing Officer, containing key information. The pack folder is also a handy place to store information about your service family accommodation, such as the ‘Gas safety certificate’.

Some sections of the welcome pack are also published on this website:

You may also find useful information available from your local HIVE.

Licence to occupy insurance

When you live in SFA you should ensure that you have adequate insurance. In addition to arranging contents insurance to protect your personal possessions, you are strongly recommended (in accordance with JSP 464) to take out ‘Licence to occupy’ insurance. This specialist insurance covers your potential liability incurred as a result of damage to your SFA caused by you or your family and would provide you with cover up to the required £20,000.

This would include things like damage caused by kitchen fires and flood damage as a result of failing to adequately protect and heat your home in winter.

The Services Insurance and Investment Advisory Panel (SIIAP) website provides details of insurers who can supply this insurance and includes websites and telephone numbers for a range of relevant insurance companies. If you are unable to find relevant information on the websites available, we suggest that you call the insurer using the telephone numbers which are also provided. If you already have Kit insurance with one of these specialist insurers, it may be worth checking if you are already covered, as some insurance policies include Licence to Occupy insurance.

Full details on moving into your SFA are available in:

Maintainance and repairs of SFA and SSFA

DIO is responsible for the maintenance of all SFA through the relevant Prime Contracts (except for properties provided under the government’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI)). This comprehensive service is free to occupants, who have very little responsibility for the maintenance of their SFA, this mainly includes maintaining the garden and minor maintenance such as replacing standard light bulbs and fuses.

However, customers are responsible for looking after their property and protecting it from damage.

Repair categories and response times

Repair category Response times
Emergency repairs Attend within 3 hours and make safe within 24 hours. Where it is not possible to complete a permanent repair within 24 hours alternative temporary solutions may be provided e.g. temporary heating in the winter months. In this case the permanent repair will be rescheduled within the ‘urgent’ or ‘routine’ timescales as appropriate. Emergencies include faults which constitute an immediate risk of personal injury, significant damage to the property, or give rise to serious inconvenience or hardship to the occupants. Examples include: flooding, complete electrical failure, gas leak, carbon monoxide alarm, and central heating failure in sub zero temperatures.
Urgent repairs Attend and rectify the problem within five working days. Urgent repairs include faults causing serious discomfort or likely to lead to damage to the property e.g. water leaks, blocked drains or WC, or isolated power failures.
Routine repairs Attend and rectify problem within 15 working days. Routine repairs are those that can be deferred without causing serious discomfort, inconvenience or damage.

Repairs helpdesks

You are required to report any defects in your SFA to the appropriate contractor helpdesk:

Region Contractor Telephone
England and Wales Modern Housing Solutions (MHS) 0800 707 6000 (open 24 hours)
Scotland Turners Estate Solutions 0800 328 6337 (open 24 hours)
Northern Ireland   0800 030 4651 (office hours only) You should contact your local guardroom for out of hours emergencies

SSFA repairs

For reporting faults to substitute SFA properties, please telephone (or email) HCR at the earliest opportunity:

During office hours (Mon to Thurs 09:00 to 17:30, Fri 09:00 to 17:00) Contact HCR’s Maintenance Advisors for both routine and emergency problems contact: Telephone: 01256 313764 HCR’s general switchboard: 01256 812700. Email: maintenance@hcr.co.uk

During out of office hours (Mon to Thurs 17:30 to 09:00, Fri from 17:00 to Mon 09:00). Contact ABLE Telephone: 0333 6664357

ABLE will determine if the problem is an emergency; if it is not an emergency, you will be asked to contact HCR during office hours. If you do not use the procedure above, or you call out ABLE (or another contractor) for a non-emergency out of hours visit, you may be liable for resulting costs.

If your landlord/landlord’s agent have provided details of an emergency policy (e.g. for gas) or preferred contractors, you may use these to rectify the problem. However, please contact HCR (as above) so that HCR can keep a record of the incident for future reference.

Private Finance Initiative housing

The telephone numbers for reporting faults to PFI housing are:

PFI housing Telephone Regions covered
Cosford/Shawbury PFI 0345 111 0000 (office hours) or 0845 0500 900 (out of hours) Market Drayton, Donnington Wood, Telford
Wattisham PFI 01728 727506 Pinewood, Thorington Park, Ipswich, Redhill, Hadleigh, Aldham Mill Hill, Hadleigh
Yeovilton PFI 0800 783 7837 Broadsword Park, Ilchester, Bristol, Bath
Portsmouth PFI 01275 818443 Emerson’s Green (Bristol), Long Ashton (Bristol), Stoke Park (Bristol), Paxcroft Mead, Trowbridge, Seafield Park, Portsmouth
Portsmouth 2 PFI 01275 818443 HMS Daedalus, Lee on Solent
Lossiemouth PFI 0800 917 8732 Lossiemouth, Elgin
Central Scotland PFI 0800 55 99 22 Donaldswood, Paisley, Dreghorn Camp (Edinburgh), Longstone (Edinburgh)
Army Foundation College, Harrogate PFI 01423 813376  
JSCSC Shrivenham PFI 01793 788 4444 (office hours) or 01793 788000 (out of hours)  

For reporting faults to leased properties, Bulk Lease Hires, (not covered by the Annington Homes Ltd (AHL) sale agreement in 1996), please contact:

Area Telephone
Bardney (Nr Coningsby, Lincolnshire) 0800 027 2057
Ashford 0800 988 2433
Brecon, includes Honddu Court 0800 988 2433
Brize Norton, includes Carterton/Witney/North Leigh 0800 988 2433
Catterick, includes Brough St Giles/The Chase 0800 988 2433
Darlington, includes West Park/Devonshire Court 0800 988 2433
Dover, Whitfield 0800 988 2433
Folkstone 0800 988 2433
Gloucester: includes Tewkesbury, Kingsway, Hucclecote 0800 988 2433
Hawkinge 0800 988 2433
Nantyglo: includes Brynmawr/Lakeside Estate 0800 988 2433
Salisbury: includes Amesbury, east Anton, Tidworth, Andover, Saxon Rise, Collingbourne, Archers Gate, Saxon Gate 0800 988 2433
York, Accomb 0800 988 2433
Nuneaton 0800 988 2433

Full details on the maintenance of SFA is available in:

Looking after your SFA

You are responsible for keeping your home in a reasonable condition during the time you occupy SFA. In addition, you need to take care of:

  • changing domestic fuses and light bulbs
  • taking precautions to prevent damage to the SFA by fire, frost, the bursting of water pipes and the blocking of drains
  • clearing any sink or bath blockages
  • routine testing and cleaning of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms
  • resetting of electrical trip switches due to faulty bulbs
  • ensuring that all repairs are reported to the relevant maintenance helpdesk as they occur

Check out the ‘Customer guides’. Each easy to follow, single page guide deals with specific topics and offers advice on important issues.

Visit the ‘Home Front newsletter’, for helpful advice and informative articles for occupants of service family accommodation (SFA).

Service Family Accommodation in south west London
Service Family Accommodation in south west London (MOD/Crown Copyright)

Moving out

Moving home can be a very busy and stressful time. DIO Service Delivery Accommodation aims to make your move as easy and stress free for you and your family as possible.

Booking a move out

You need to inform the Housing Allocations Service Centre (HASC) when you have been re-assigned within 14 days of receiving your ‘Assignment order’. You are also required to book a ‘Pre-move out advisory visit’ (PMOAV) with the HASC up to 2 months prior to your expected ‘move out’ date.

To contact the HASC visit: HASC map.

Pre Move-out Advisory Visit (PMOAV)

The aim of the PMOAV is to advise you on the agreed move out standard, whilst also giving the Housing Officer the opportunity to assess any repair/maintenance work that may be necessary prior to the SFA being allocated to another family.

The Housing Officer will be happy to answer any questions you may have on the move out process and will give you a Pre Move-out Advisory leaflet explaining the standard required for move out.

‘Move out’

Your move out will be attended by the Housing Officer who will inspect your SFA to see if it meets the agreed move out standard.

If the standard is not satisfactory and there are deficiencies or damages that are not considered to be fair wear and tear, or you have failed to clean the property properly, a charge will be raised by the Housing Officer and you will be invoiced accordingly.

Once the Housing Officer has completed the inspection and has completed the move, an appropriate Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) action will then be taken by the HASC to cease accommodation charges on that property from the date of your move out.

Pre-payment cleaning scheme (England and Wales)

A Pre-payment cleaning scheme (PPCS) is available to most SFA customers in England and Wales. This is the only cleaning scheme, underwritten by MHS, which is guaranteed to meet the ‘move-out standard’ for all contracted works. The cost of this scheme is subject to the size and condition of the SFA, and the number of items to be cleaned, and is quoted to the customer on a case by case basis.

As the contract is between the occupant of the SFA and the cleaning company, MOD cannot accept any liability for matters relating to use of this contract. Bulk Lease Hire and Private Finance Initiative properties are not covered by the scheme.

If you wish to use this voluntary scheme please contact the approved cleaning contractor, whose helpdesk is manned by security cleared staff:

Ideal Freephone: 0800 038 7833 or Mobile: 0777 222 8910

The central helpdesk is manned by security cleared staff. A representative will arrange to visit and provide you with a free, no obligation quote. This quote will be specific to your house and will reflect the amount of work required to get that particular property up to ‘move out’ standard.

Customers who use the PPCS continue to be liable for any damages to the property, such as stains on carpets that cannot be removed, and they are still required to prepare the garden and garage to the ‘move out’ standard.

Removal services

Agility Logistics Limited (Agility) is the MOD approved service provider for removals and is part of the Global Removal Management Services (GRMS).

Charges for damage and deficiencies for SFA and Substitute SFA recovery from pay

When you move out of UK service family accommodation (SFA) or substitute service family accommodation (SSFA), you may be liable for charges for damages or deficiencies that are not classed as fair wear and tear or because you have failed to prepare the property to the correct standard, for example cleanliness.

Since 1 October 2013, the process for managing these charges permits DIO to take these directly from the pay of serving personnel in order to improve the efficiency of the process.

Any payments taken depend on the size of the charge and individual monthly income (using MOD guidelines to ensure that deductions do not exceed a set limit of pay).

If you consider that you are not responsible for the charges, or part of them, for example that the damage is the result of fair wear and tear,you are able to dispute the charge raised using the ‘Disputed charges form’.

Full details on moving out of your SFA and recoveries from pay are available in:

UK SFA Customer Survey

A monthly telephone survey of randomly selected customers is conducted by M·E·L Research on behalf of the MOD. The aim of the research is to help MOD better understand the views of service personnel and families living in UK service family accommodation (SFA) and substitute SFA (SSFA).

Whilst customers do not have to take part, we encourage customers to respond to this short survey as your opinions will be used to measure how DIO is performing and identify ways of making further improvements to the housing service that matter to you. Answers will be treated in the strictest confidence and only used for research purposes. If you have any queries about the survey, or would like to follow up a call, M·E·L

Research can be contacted on: Telephone: 0121 604 4664 Freephone: 0800 0730 348.

Customer assistance points (CAPs)

The CAPs provide you with the opportunity to discuss any issues about services provided by DIO Service Delivery Accommodation and MODern Housing Solutions (MHS) face to face. The CAP does not replace the functions provided by the Housing Allocations Service Centre (HASC) or the MHS Helpdesk, nor the specific services delivered or information provided by other providers. In these cases, the local CAP Co-ordinator will provide the relevant signposting information.

Making a complaint

Both DIO Service Delivery Accommodation and our contractors have a strong customer focus to provide the best service we can to service personnel and their families. However, sometimes things go wrong so below is some useful advice and guidance on what you need to do if you wish to make a complaint, and what the correct procedure is.

Whatever the problem, we will endeavour to sort it out as quickly as possible. We value your feedback and monitor complaints to help us focus on improving our service in those areas.

What is a complaint?

A complaint may be about any aspect of DIO service including:

  • impolite or unhelpful staff or contractors
  • something being done wrongly
  • a decision we have made following an appeal
  • not operating our policies fairly or fulfilling our legal duties
  • something not being done by DIO

Complaints are not an:

  • everyday enquiries
  • appeal against an allocation or retention decision
  • requests for a service

For example if you report a defective boiler, this is a request for a repair. If we fail to carry out the repair, it may become a complaint.

Complaints can be made by anyone who receives a service or who maybe entitled to receive a service from DIO.

Broadly, this means:

  • licensees/occupants
  • applicants
  • advocates acting on behalf of licensees/occupants, including Councillors and MPs
  • other parts of the Armed Forces or the MOD

All complaints will be treated confidentially. We do not generally accept anonymous complaints, particularly as we are therefore unable to respond with an answer about the action we have taken.

How to make a complaint

We have a set three stage procedure for complaints to make sure that they can be fully investigated and promptly put right. If you are dissatisfied by the response at any stage, you will be given the opportunity to go to the next one.

First stage

Maintenance provider staff or service: telephone the relevant maintenance contractor.

Region Contractor Telephone
England and Wales Modern Housing Solutions (MHS) 0800 707 6000
Scotland Turners Estate Solutions 0800 328 6337
Northern Ireland   0800 030 4651

DIO Service Delivery Accommodation staff or service (including Move In complaints)

Write to:

Customer Service Assistant (Stage 1 Complaints),
DIO Service Delivery Accommodation,
Ground Floor,
Swales Pavilion,
RAF Wyton,
Cambridgeshire
PE28 2EA

or Email: dioopsaccn-housingcomplaints@mod.uk, using the SFA Customer complaint template.

Second stage

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from a first stage complaint, please write to the:

Customer Service Manager,
DIO Service Delivery Accommodation,
Ground Floor,
Swales Pavilion,
RAF Wyton,
Cambridgeshire
PE28 2EA.

If you make a written complaint we will acknowledge it within three working days. An investigation will be carried out

but depending on the nature of the complaint, this can take some time. We do however aim to provide you with an update within 10 working days. If we need to arrange to meet with you, we aim to write to you within five days after the meeting.

Third stage

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from a Second Stage complaint, please write to:

Independent Housing Review Panel
CD(P) Service and Veterans Welfare Accommodation Policy C2
Ministry of Defence
Floor 6, Zone A
Main Building
Whitehall
London
SW1A 2HB

Further independent advice

You can seek independent advice through your:

  • local service welfare organisations
  • Unit Welfare Officer
  • RAF Community Support Officer or Unit Families Officer

Alternatively there are civilian organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureau or Housing Advice Centres who will help.

Downgrading or compensation

DIO does not have authority to pay compensation or loss of earnings. We may temporarily downgrade accommodation charges where a major loss of amenity has occurred. Permanent downgrading can only be approved by a Board of Officers.

See Customer fact sheet 1: The four-tier grading system.

Further details

More information on complaints is available in Customer fact sheet 7: Complaints.

Charters

The DIO/SFA customer charter lists the key responsibilities of DIO Service Delivery Accommodation, contractors representing DIO, licensees/customers (including service personnel and their families) in the provision of service family accommodation (SFA).

The Military Chain of Command Charter lists the responsibilities of the Military Chain of Command (MCOC) and DIO Service Delivery Accommodation in the provision of service family accommodation (SFA), SFA estate related maintenance, community living issues in the United Kingdom.

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