Following earlier initiatives to provide better services for personnel in BFG, a review of tax free purchases from the UK and in Germany has been undertaken. Please follow this link to view the changes that have or will be implemented to make it easier for you to claim a refund of VAT.
When you are applying for employment, university or college back in the UK you may be asked to obtain a Disclosure and Barring Service(DBS) Disclosure Certificate; this certificate gives proof of any criminal record and is normally issued by the DBS based in Liverpool or Disclosure (Scotland) which is based in Glasgow. However, if you have been living and working in the Service community overseas in the past five years or more then the two Disclosure Offices in the UK will hold no relevant information on your criminal status.
The Service Police will hold a record of the criminal status relating to convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings for all persons living in the Service community overseas.
In order to provide a future employer or university/college with information relating to your period of residency overseas then you can apply to the Service Police for the issue of a Subject Access Request Certificate in place of a DBS Disclosure Certificate.
To obtain this certificate, free of charge, you should write to the Service Police Crime Bureau (SPCB) at the address shown below enclosing details of your full name, date and place of birth, address details with dates over the past five years and a photocopy of the photograph section of your current passport which must be valid at time of submission. The SPCB will normally process your request within 10 working days of receipt at their location.
Service Police Crime Bureau
Building 143, Southwick Park
Fareham, PO17 6EJ
Service Police Crime Bureau tel: 93835 4808/4377 or 0044 (0)2392 284377
On receipt of the Subject Access Request Certificate you will need to send the original with a written letter of request for an authority letter to be issued to:
SO2 Employment Disclosure
HQ British Forces Germany
Employment Disclosure Office tel 94872 6423 or 0049 (0)2161 472 6423
The SO2 Employment Disclosure will process your request within five working days of receipt and you will be sent a letter of authority confirming your criminal record status that you should present with the Subject Access Request Certificate to any future employer, university or college.
Please contact the Employment Disclosure Office at the telephone number shown above should you require further clarification on the process.
14th February 2013
As we approach the Christmas leave period and in light of recent events in NI we should remind members of the BFG community there are very real and potentially life threatening personal security issues with visiting Ireland. Please read the message below and General Security Advice is based on current and recent events in NI as Dissident Republicans continue to target and attack members of the NI Security Forces and those identified as being members of the military when off-duty or on leave.
As we approach the time of year that individuals are making plans for Christmas leave it is prudent to remind all personnel, that it is now mandatory that all leave travel to Northern Ireland must be reported to the Central Risk Assessment Cell (CRAC) and must include the following information:
Contact Details for the Central Risk Assessment Cell (CRAC) are:
All personnel departing on leave with BFG RHD BFG registered vehicles are to remove the German ‘Emission Sticker’ attached to their windscreen before arriving in Northern Ireland. On return to Unit, owners can apply for a new ‘Emission Sticker’ using Annex H to Section 4 to SO BF (G) 3213. The application is to be signed and stamped by the unit admin office confirming travel had been for leave. The ‘Emission Sticker’ will then be replaced free of charge.
General Security Advice:
All personnel visiting Northern Ireland must consult the Northern Ireland Garrison Security Awareness Site (NIGSAS) available at http://www.ni_sy_aware.dii.r.mil.uk/default.asp
Or seek advice from your Unit Security Officer.
Check Your Car:
Don’t Be Predictable:
Keep Up to Date:
See Something Suspicious?
During October and November BFBS TV viewers in Germany will be able to swap their old satellite set top box for a new one.
The more advanced satellite receivers will continue to have the nine BFBS TV channels but new features include the pause and rewind of live TV – with the addition of a memory stick – and the ability to record programmes or series by adding a hard drive.
Customers are advised to buy a completely separate hard drive or USB stick to use with this new box to avoid the possibility of overwriting favourite family photos or videos.
The PACE satellite boxes are being phased out as they are 12 years old and the card reader system has not been completely secure. They’re being replaced by new satellite boxes with modern styling and an up-to-date card encryption system. Customers with Humax ‘cable’ boxes that do not require a card are unaffected.
The ‘SWAP YOUR BOX’ scheme will be rolled out in phases across BFG through the local SSVC Retail shops, where staff will be able to answer any questions.
For more information when the roll out is taking place in your area, please go online to
The outcome of the Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) review for Germany which took place in July 2012 was announced by the MoD on 17 Sep 12. The review, which compared the cost of a basket of items in the UK and Germany, has resulted in a very small decrease in rates for married accompanied personnel with children and a similarly small increase for all single and unaccompanied personnel. The increases will take effect on the 1 Oct 12 and the decreases on 1 Nov 12. Detailed rates, broken down by rank and the number of children where appropriate, are available now from Unit and Garrison administrative offices.Go Here to download ....
BFG-based BFPO customers are asked to note that the decision to enforce the size and weight limits of parcels being sent and returned through commercial companies to BFPOs has now been postponed until Jan 13. This relates to a notice in Forces’ Media in mid-September which is effectively postponed.
Further information will be published later in the year.
CRIC Ref: 1.1.1 26th Sept 2012
The rates for MOD Flight Allowances for Get You Home (Overseas) (GYH(O)) and Concessionary Travel for Families (CTF) have been revised. The new rates are effective from 01 October 2012, and replace the rates promulgated on 31 March 2012.
|Country||Old Rate||New Rate|
The rates, which are intended to assist towards the cost of return journeys to the UK, are based on commercial flight costs and can therefore decrease as well as increase. The rates will continue to be published annually on 01 April but will be subject to a six-monthly review to ensure that the rates remain at an appropriate level. Full details are available from your Unit Admin Offices.
CRIC Ref: 2.8.0 7th Sept 2012
Good news for all non-EEA (European Economic Area) and Foreign and Commonwealth (F&C) soldiers and dependents intending to take the ‘Knowledge of Life in the UK’ (KOL) Test: it is now possible to take the test at the 42 Army Education Centre (AEC) in Hohne Station.
April 16th 2012
If you are currently being paid Kindergeld you will shortly receive a letter from the Familienkasse Nürnberg asking you to fill in some forms and return them.
You should attach a copy of your Child Benefit Award Notice for 2011/2012, which you will have received from the Child Benefit Office at HM Revenue & Customs at the end of last year.
If you do not have this Award Notice you can ask for another copy by:
PO Box 1
Newcastle upon Tyne
Please make sure you quote your Child Benefit number or your National Insurance number when you contact the Child Benefit Office.
It is important that you fill in the forms and return them and the Award Notice to the Familienkasse in Nürnberg as soon as possible so that the amount of Kindergeld you receive can be checked. This may delay Kindergeld payments from April 12, but outstanding amounts will be paid as soon as the calculation has been completed.
The Familienkasse have informed BFG that the number of fraudulent claims and families receiving payments in error is steadily increasing. This may prevent the speedy administration of genuine claims and could put at risk your right to receive Kindergeld at all.
Your Regimental Administration Office (RAO) is able to show you the rules for claiming Kindergeld which are set out in Standing Instruction British Army (Germany) no 3231 (known as SIBAG 3231).
Please note that as a general rule you are not eligible to receive Kindergeld
The Child Benefit Office in UK and the Familienkasse in Nürnberg work closely together. If you are receiving Kindergeld in error for any reason you run the risk of:
You are personally responsible for any arrangements made with the Familienkasse.
For further information contact your RAO or the admin office of the Head of Household’s unit.
April 16th 2012
The purchase of a tax-free vehicle is a personal choice and therefore there is always going to be a risk that unexpected or short notice postings will not fit with the rules for tax-free purchases. A posting to the UK will allow you to take a tax-free vehicle, less than 1 year BFG registered, back to the UK without having to pay the VAT. However, a posting elsewhere in the world, would cause a problem it the tax-free vehicle is less than 1 year BFG registered. The requirement is for the vehicle to be taken to the new posting location. In essence you have 3 options when such a posting arises:
1. Take the vehicle with you to the new posting location.
2. Sell the vehicle to another ‘Entitled Person’ before leaving Germany. In such a situation, you will have to seek authority, in the first instance, from SO2 Veh Lic to sell the vehicle without incurring a tax-free sanction.
3. Pay the VAT to the German Authority and then take the vehicle back to the UK.
The French authorities have recently introduced a series of tougher measures which will apply to all drivers on French roads.
Whilst it has been an offence in France for a number of years, under article R413-15 of the French ‘Code de la Route’ (highway code) to use equipment that can detect a radar signal, the new laws take matters a step further by banning ‘driver aids’ which incorporates data, giving a warning of where speed cameras are located. Any device e.g. Satelite Navigation System (Satnav) or GPS systems which is able to warn or show the location of speed camera sites, is banned from use on French roads. Be aware, this also include Smartphones which have this function included. Anyone found to be in possession of such items may be punished and the penalty for the new offence is steep – a fine of up to €1500 and the loss of up to 6 points on the drivers’ license. The police have also been granted powers of seizure, which can include the vehicle itself, if the device cannot be removed from the vehicle.
As a result of the changes, the French government has installed hundreds of new speed cameras and is said to be slowly removing all road signs indicating the location of existing fixed speed camera sites. Public information about the location of fixed radars will also no longer be available and the map indicating the location of speed cameras has been withdrawn from the Government website. In most cases, it seems the speed camera warning signs are being replaced by speed warning signs, which simply signal your speed. These signs may be placed at any distance from the speed trap itself, contrary to previous practice when warning signs were placed several hundred metres from it. Police are being vigilant in their enforcement of the law.
By way of dispensation, the use of warning devices that signal 'accident black spots' (where there may or may not be speed cameras), will continue to be permitted. The accident black spots have yet to be defined by the government.
Those with existing speed camera detection systems are required to bring them into conformity with the regulations, a process which can be done over the internet, by simple deactivation of the function, or by a visit to the garage for those devices built integrally into the car.
Older versions not capable of being altered will need to be removed from the vehicle.
For those with GPS via a Smartphone, then it will be necessary to charge a new version available over the internet e.g. App Store, Android Market.
CRIC Ref: 2.5.11 9th March 2012
Amid ongoing uncertainty in Iran and the weakening of the European economies, there has been a increase in the cost of crude oil over the past few months. This has resulted in price hikes at the pumps for both petrol and diesel. The problem has been exacerbated by the relative weakness of the Euro which affects consumers as oil products are typically paid for in US $.
Prices in Europe have risen significantly and despite being free of tax the BFG coupon prices have also been hit hard. This means that the BFG motorist will have to bear the same pain as their civilian counterparts. Careful consideration and effort is used when assessing the monthly coupon selling prices and BFG motorists can be rest assured that everything is done in order to obtain the best possible deal. Contrary to popular belief, the non-Public BFG Coupon Account only generates sufficient income to cover the cost of the BFG Coupon and the BFG Vehicle Licensing System, no profit is made.
The article below provides a clear insight into how coupon prices are assessed and how funds are generated to finance the two systems.
BFG FUEL COUPON – PRICING
The BFG motorist will have observed that fuel coupon prices have increased significantly this month. A brief explanation of why and how the price of BFG fuel coupons is arrived at follows below:
BFG fuel coupons are fixed for a month at a time, unlike the pump prices at local service stations which might fluctuate as much as fifteen times a month. Favourable contract conditions with our suppliers, ARAL, SHELL and ESSO, provide us with this price stability.
Monthly coupon prices are based upon an average of all service station prices within these suppliers’ networks. These prices are then reduced by the Mehrwertsteuer (VAT) element, oil taxes and compulsory stockpile fees.
A mandatory administrative charge to cover the costs of the coupon scheme is then added and the coupon price is set. This charge is assessed annually by Management Accountant, HQ BFG.
More observant motorists will have noticed that BFG coupon prices seem to be out of sync with commercial prices; this is because cost prices between the 20th and 26th of the previous month are used in setting coupon prices. Consequently, BFG motorists can pay more (or less) than the current commercial market price in any one month. However, overall experience has shown that the BFG motorist is never disadvantaged as short term price variations are always corrected, albeit in retrospect.
150,000 petrol coupons are purchased and used each month. Additionally, another 300,000 coupons remain unredeemed in BFG motorists’ possession from one month to the next. This “back-log” of coupons has to be re-valued and the new value taken into account when assessing the next month’s selling prices
Another situation that may appear puzzling is the apparent disparity between BFG coupon prices and commercial pump prices, particularly regarding diesel prices. This is largely due to the differing tax levels on petrol and diesel; the table below illustrates how a lower tax on a cheaper fuel renders it more expensive in its untaxed form which BFG motorists are entitled to.
|Less Mineral Oil tax||- €0.47||- €0.65|
The fuel coupon pricing system may appear complicated and at times seems to be working against market trends, but any changes in market prices are passed on to the BFG motorist in as fair and prompt a way as possible.
CRIC Ref: 2.5.10 9th March 2012
Where travel journeys are arranged by individuals based in BFG, for example; travelling from Germany to the UK on leave, it is the individual who is responsible for checking with the carrier or travel agent (Ryanair, Eurotunnel etc) what travel documents are required to enter the destination country. Travel documents that are required are generally contained in the carrier’s Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) and are also provided by the carrier or travel agent in the travel booking confirmation. Some airlines may accept a Military ID card or a driving licence as a travel document for domestic travel journeys (departing and arriving in the same country, for example Hannover to Dusseldorf) but for international travel (departing Germany and transiting through or arriving in another country including the UK) an in-date and serviceable passport is required. It is also an individual’s personal responsibility when booking their own off-duty travel to ensure that they are aware of and in possession of a visa, if required in the destination country, for example a British citizen will require a travel/visitor visa to travel to Australia on leave.
Under no circumstances should Service personnel attempt to use a NATO Travel Order (F Mov 220) as a travel document when travelling on leave or off-duty. NATO Travel Orders are only permitted as a travel document for the movement of military personnel, individual military weapons and official documents when travelling to other NATO countries whilst on duty, in accordance with the Convention between nations adhering to the North Atlantic Treaty on the Status of their Forces. Travel documents required for personnel travelling on duty or on change of assignment (including family movement on assignment) and occasions when a NATO Travel Order may be used, are detailed in SOBF(G) 4300, Movements and Transport in British Forces Germany, accessed via the HQ BFG website on the Defence Intranet. Further information on the use of NATO Travel Orders can be obtained from the Bielefeld Travel Centre (BTC) on (81) 3292/3381.
CRIC Ref: 7.1.6 3rd February 2012
Readers will remember that significant changes to Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) were announced in Jan 11, as part of SDSR Allowance Savings Measures. The first phase of changes were implemented on 1 May 11 and reduced the rate of LOA in BFG. The second phase of changes will take place on 1 Apr 12, these are not new changes but they are the second part of the previously announced changes.
The last 12 months have been a turbulent time for LOA rates; there have been adjustments due to changes in the Forces Fixed Rate (FFR) (a fall in the FFR from €1.20 to €1.14 / £ caused an increase in the rate of LOA received), reductions due to SDSR allowance savings measures and a welcome increase, for over 99% of BFG personnel, as a result of the 2011 LOA Review.
CRIC Ref: 9.8.2 10th February 2012
A series of ‘Top Tips’ offering practical advice to Service personnel when applying for a mortgage or unsecured loan has been produced jointly by the Government and representative bodies from the financial sector.
Backed by the Armed Forces Covenant, the MOD has agreed to work with several organisations including: the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the UK Cards Association, The British Bankers’ Association amongst others, to raise awareness within their membership of the unique nature of life in the Armed Forces and the need to avoid disadvantaging Service personnel. The key principles below were agreed when considering lending to Service personnel:
‘Those who serve with the Armed Forces should not be disadvantaged because of their occupation.
Applications for credit/mortgage applications will be treated fairly and consistently with civilian counterparts and will not be automatically rejected purely on the basis of a BFPO address’.
Two separate guidance notes on ‘applying for a mortgage’ and ‘applying for unsecure credit’ are available to download via the Defence Internet at: http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/CorporatePublications/PersonnelPublications/ Welfare/FinancialTopTipsForServicePersonnel.htm. Included in the notes are tips on how to improve your credit application. For instance; lenders check the Electoral Register when considering credit applications, why not kill two birds with one stone, if you haven’t already done so and Register to Vote, go to: www.aboutmyvote.co.uk. Also listed, is what documentation you will need to provide when applying for a mortgage application.
Although personal finances are an individual responsibility, it is hoped that this will highlight the common difficulties that Service personnel experience when trying to access commercial products and services due in part, to their mobility and time spent out of the UK including to BFPO addresses. Hopefully, this will also provide guidance on how to overcome or minimise these difficulties.
Further information is available from DIN: 2012DIN01-013 dated January 2012
CRIC Ref: 11.1.6 3rd February 2012
As a relatively small number of secondary age students are likely to remain within the Rhine Garrison catchment area until 2015, HQ SCE staff, in conjunction with HQ UKSC, European Support Group (ESG) HQ Rhine Garrison and the Headteachers of Windsor and King’s schools, have been studying a number of options in order to provide parents with a clear statement about the provision of secondary education beyond the summer of 2012.
Windsor School will remain the default option for all students in years 7, 8 and 9 until it closes. For older students, in years 10 and beyond, a number of options become available to ensure continuity of education provision.
RMC Current, limited, boarding capacity at King’s School, means that there is no provision for students within the wider RMC who would normally attend Windsor school, and who are starting Year 10 in September 2012, to board at King’s school. King’s and Windsor schools are therefore working closely to offer identical GCSE courses for the Sept 2012 intake - and to ensure that student wellbeing is uppermost in their minds. Students will therefore be able to start Year 10 at Windsor school (as day students) before transferring to King’s school (as day students) in September 2013 to complete Year 11.
Regrettably, the nature of A Level courses doesn’t lend itself to this approach and both headteachers recommend weekly boarding at King’s schools for the very small number of students involved. Students starting Year 12 in September 2012 will therefore be able to board weekly at King’s school. Provision will be made at King’s school for students to arrive on a Sunday evening, returning home on a Friday afternoon.
For students located in ESG units, embarking on GCSE (and where appropriate A Level) courses in September 2012, the picture is somewhat different.
AFNORTH Students in years 7, 8 and 9 will continue to use Windsor school as outlined above. Students commencing examination courses in September 2012 will have the option to attend St George’s School at Aachen as day students or to start Year 10 at Windsor school before transferring to King’s school as weekly boarders in September 2013 to complete Year 11. From 2013 all AFNORTH-based secondary age students will use St George’s School in Aachen; KS 3 Pupils will also have the additional option to attend the US / Canadian High School at AFNORTH.
Ramstein Students in years 7, 8 and 9 will continue to use Windsor school as outlined above. Students commencing examination courses in September 2012 will have the option to attend Neustadt International School as day students. All secondary age students will attend Neustadt International School as day pupils from September 2013.
SHAPE Students in years 7, 8 and 9 will continue to use Windsor school as outlined above. Students commencing examination courses in September 2012 will have the option to attend the British School of Brussels (BSB) as day pupils. All secondary age students will attend BSB as day students from September 2013.
Elmpt (including Ayrshire Barracks) Students in years 7, 8 and 9 will continue to use Windsor school as outlined above. Students commencing examination courses in September 2012 will have the option to attend the International School at Duisburg as day students or to start Year 10 at Windsor school before transferring to King’s school as weekly boarders in September 2013 to complete Year 11. From 2013 all remaining secondary age students will use the International School at Duisburg – attending as day students
Parents of children posted to ESG units (Brunssum, Ramstein, Kalkar or SHAPE) should direct all queries about education provision and transport to the appropriate UK JSU.
Questions about SCE provision should in the first instance be sent to email@example.com
Continuity of Education Allowance / Boarding School Allowance
Parents considering returning their children to the UK to board as an alternative to the options outlined above are advised to contact the UK-based Children’s Education Advisory Service - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. CEAS is part of the MoD Directorate of Children and Young People.
CRIC Ref: 5.2.3 30th January 2012
The MOD appointed removal agents, Global Removal Management Service (GRMS) has raised concerns that some Service personnel are leaving it too late to apply for their removals because they are not in receipt of their new quarter address; despite this not being an initial requirement to apply.
Although the contractor will do their best to accommodate all short notice moves to and from Service accommodation overseas, administering these requests is time consuming and there may come a time when the contractors resources are simply too stretched to meet every requirement, which could lead to delays for personnel. It is vital that Service personnel apply for removals as soon as they are in receipt of their Assignment Order. The contractor can be informed of the new address at a later date.
Entitled Service personnel, and other entitled/eligible MOD staff are reminded that there is now a quicker and easier way of applying for Service Family Accommodation (SFA) in the UK by completing the e-1132 electronically, via the Defence Intranet. Up until now SFA applicants had to complete a long paper application. The online system has added advantages which include; information throughout the form to help complete it; validation information to ensure that you don’t submit an incomplete form; and a save function which allows you to go back and complete later. This ultimately speeds up the process.
The e-1132 application can be found on the Defence Intranet at:
This link can only be accessed from an MOD system via the internal Defence Intranet.
CRIC Ref: 11.1.5 10th January 2012