The new charging system for Service accommodation will be introduced in less than a year. This July, occupants of UK Service Families Accommodation (SFA) will receive individual letters containing further information about how Combined Accommodation Assessment System (CAAS) will affect them and this will include an estimate of what the charging band will be for their SFA when CAAS commences in April 2016 and in future years.
Ahead of this, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has issued an initial batch of these letters to occupants of SFA at Wyton and Brampton earlier than the rest of the UK, in order to gather feedback from occupants on the level of information they are provided and to check communication channels.
Under CAAS, Service Accommodation will remain heavily subsidised compared to market rates. The highest charge will be the same as under the current 4 Tier Grading regulations and will continue to be subject to recommendations from the Armed Forces Pay Review Body. Those in the highest-rated properties (Grade 1) will pay no more under CAAS but, because CAAS uses new criteria and is more accurate, almost everyone’s charge will change.
CAAS will still consider the condition, scale and location of the property, just like the current system, but will use more modern, objective assessments that will apply fairly and equally to all. The criteria have been designed so that the charge Service personnel pay will be much more closely dependent on the factors that they have told us matter to them. The condition of the property will be the most important factor and charges will be significantly discounted where accommodation does not meet clear benchmarked national standards. For personnel who experience an increase in rent, the change will (where appropriate) be introduced gradually over a number of years to ensure a manageable and fair transition.
To ensure that SFA charges are as accurate as possible, a major programme of SFA surveys continues this summer, both in the UK and overseas. For the properties being surveyed, occupants will be written to regarding appointments and they should bring this to the attention of their chain of command if they require time off work to allow access to the property. Local commanders are being written to by DIO, seeking their support in releasing personnel to ensure survey appointments are met or, where necessary, rescheduled. Further information for overseas SFA occupants will be published shortly. All SFA occupants worldwide will be written to by February 2016 with details of their confirmed CAAS charging band for April 2016.
Further information on CAAS can be found here.