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Service Families

Subject to operational requirements, the University will seek to provide flexibility on the timing of annual leave for staff who are partners of Service personnel before, during and after their partner’s deployment.

Also, the University will consider allowing the employee to take an extended period of leave (from their standard annual entitlement) and/or allow leave to be carried forward into the following year or brought forward from the following year.

As a service family member, it is important to have conversations with your line manager so that they are aware of your situation and how you may be feeling around your partner’s deployment. It’s probably also worth letting them know key dates and times, and that although agreed they may change at relatively short notice. Having an open dialogue with your line manager will be vital in making this flexible approach work.

In order to identify and provide support for our UK Armed Forces Veterans, Reservists and Service family members, we have added a drop-down list in the ‘personal information’ section of iTrent employee self-service.

This section will ask “Are you a Veteran, Armed Forces Reservist or Service Family Member (select your status).”

Options in the drop-down box include:

  • Armed Forces Veteran.
  • Armed Forces Reservist.
  • Service Family Member.
  • Cadet Force Adult Volunteer.
  • Not Applicable.

iTrent Guide to updating your personal status

Data Protection (GDPR)

Description and scope of data processing

  • We only collect and use your personal data as this is necessary to provide support to our veterans, reservists, cadet force volunteers and service family members and to provide anonymous reporting as part of our Armed Forces Covenant and Employer Recognition Schemes.
  • By selecting a category in iTrent self-service personal information, the following data is collected:
  • Whether you are:
    • Veteran
    • Reservist
    • Cadet Force Adult Volunteer
    • Service Family Member
    • Not applicable

Legal basis for data processing

  • The legal basis for processing the data is Art. 6 para. 1 (a), (f) GDPR if the user has given their consent.
    • The data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes.
    • Processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child.

Purpose of data processing

  • The data is stored securely in iTrent, for the duration of your employment, and is accessible only to HR employees and the Armed Forces Covenant Champion.
  • We use your data to provide you support through our Armed Forces Covenant pledges. You will be invited to our Armed Forces Covenant group on Microsoft Teams. The Armed Forces Covenant Focus Group is for university staff who are reservists, veterans, service family members and with an interest in our Armed Forces Covenant.
  • The Focus Group is intended to provide an informal constructive forum to discuss the University’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC).
  • We also share anonymous data (number of people in each category) as part of the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme.
  • These purposes also constitute our justified interest in processing personal data.

Duration of storage

  • Personal data will be deleted as soon as the purpose of storage ceases to apply.

Right to removal

  • You can, at any time, update your status in iTrent self-service to “not applicable”. By doing so, you will no longer be included in our Armed Forces Covenant reporting data.

Read University Data Protection policies here.

Internal support

  • University staff Wellbeing Services offers physical, social and spiritual wellbeing services such as:
    • Spectrum Life - confidential counselling and support service for the University of Exeter. This free service is offered to University of Exeter staff members, postgraduate students and family members who live at the same address as staff members and postgraduate students. The service includes 24/7 telephone counselling via our online portal; Online wellbeing space; and Face-to-face counselling.
    • Grief and Bereavement
    • Occupational Health
    • Compassionate leave
    • Emergency leave
    • ‌‌Purchase of Additional Leave - purchase up to 73 hours (two weeks pro-rata) of additional annual leave, and spread the cost over 12 months.
    • Flexibility on annual leave for partners of Service personnel before, during and after their partner’s deployment - subject to operational requirements, the University will seek to provide flexibility on the timing of annual leave for staff who are partners of Service personnel before, during and after their partner’s deployment. The University will consider allowing the employee to take an extended period of leave (from their standard annual entitlement) and/or allow leave to be carried forward into the following year or brought forward from the following year.


See the below considerations regarding particular times when your staff member may require support during their partner's deployment (not necessarily in priority order):

  • Being aware of important dates for the employee – Deployment dates, R&R dates, deployment return date, birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas etc
  • Understanding that news events may heighten emotions. e.g. terrorism, and reports of conflict. This may affect staff more during deployments than if it would have occurred at any other time.
  • Understanding stress and anxiety may occur due to uncertainty of what is happening (or what your staff member is imagining) with the person deployed. e.g. the risk of combat, confidentiality and operational security, not knowing what situation the partner is in, not understanding the day-to-day reality or risks, and travel to and from areas of operations.
  • Understanding that employees may be providing extra support to their deployed partners. e.g. unhappiness of being away from family/home, change of colleagues, change of work role, the stress of the situation they are in, loss of colleagues, fatigue, tiredness, and boredom.
  • Being aware that there will be a (potential) reduction in emotional and/or available support for the employee whilst their partner is away. e.g. during periods of illness, challenges of work, daily stresses may become more amplified or prominent. These may be due to issues such as time differences, shift/working patterns, specific duties which may reduce contact time, inadequate internet connection and slow mail service, reduced time to talk (may be limited to 20 mins per week during operations).

External support

  • Armed Forces Covenant – support and advice for families provides advice and support in areas such as:
    • Supporting children and education
    • Having access to healthcare
    • Having a home
    • Finance: Overseas Investment and Scam-avoidance
    • Supporting spouse/partner careers and education
    • Families Federations

The network of Information Offices and HIVEs across the UK and overseas are a valuable point of contact for Service personnel and their families, offering an extensive range of material and advice on issues such as relocation, local area information, education, accommodation, employment and training opportunities, childcare and travel.

Royal Navy Royal Marines 

Army HIVEs


ABF The Soldiers Charity
020 7901 8900
The army's central charity is committed to the welfare of the army and ex-army personnel and their families. Financial support is eligible for cases in real need.

Aggie Weston's
02392 650505
Aggie Weston's helps serving sailors, marines and their families. They have people at bases around the country who can offer one to one support. Also, provide social opportunities and activities where friendships can be formed.

Association of Royal Navy Officers
020 7402 5231
To afford financial assistance when in need to officers of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and their respective Reserves, both active service and retired, and to their widows, ex-wives and dependants.

At Ease
Counselling and advice work, legal advice, human rights issues. Free service for members of the armed forces, including reservists and their families.

British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association
020 8590 1124
Advice on pensions and related legislation, assistance in making representations to government departments concerning disability pensions and allowances. Over 30 branches throughout UK provide visits and advice to those eligible for membership and their widows. Financial assistance is also provided.

Combat Stress
0800 138 1619 - 24hr helpline
Provide assistance to men and women of all ranks suffering from a psychiatric disability who have served in the Armed Forces or Merchant Navy. Run three treatment centres, regional welfare officers visit clients in their homes. Assistance with claims for war disablement pensions and evaluation of how best to help cope.

Forces Law
0239 262 6888
Whether you're serving in the Army, Royal Navy or RAF, as a Regular or Reservist, you and your family have access to a wide range of independent legal services and advice through Forces Law.

Veterans Directory

League of Remembrance

020 7881 0987
Provide companionship, financial assistance and support to dependants and retired members of the armed forces and retired nurses.

Naval Families Federation
023 9265 4374
The Naval Families Federation was set up at the request of the Government in order to allow the families of the Naval Service to have their voices heard. They are funded through a grant-in-aid, which allows them to operate independently of the Government and the Chain of Command

Not Forgotten Association
020 7730 2400
Act generally for the benefit of disabled and wounded service and ex-service personnel. Provide TV sets for those whose mobility is restricted, licences provided where the financial need arises, group holidays which include outings, subsidised holidays, day outings, in-house entertainments and concerts in ex-service care homes.

Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund
0300 102 1919
Assist those of the extended RAF family in distress resulting from sickness, disability, infirmity or poverty. Welfare assistance includes residential, convalescence and respite care help with housing and education, subsistence grants and help through other specialist charities.

Royal Air Forces Association
0800 0182 361
Provide friendship and welfare support to all serving and retired personnel and their dependents. Run residential nursing homes, short break care homes, sheltered and supportive housing facilities and family units. Support through home and hospital visits and giving advice on war pensions and war widows pensions.

Royal British Legion
0808 802 8080
Uniting men and women who have served or are serving in HM Forces, raising funds to assist ex-servicemen and women and their dependents who find themselves in difficulties. Welfare and benevolence, providing grants, assisting pension claimants, giving careers advice, providing residential and convalescent care, small advocacy service and loan scheme for ex-servicemen and women.

Royal Naval Benevolent Trust
023 9269 0112
Give help, in cases of need, to serving and ex-serving ratings of the Royal Navy and other ranks of the Royal Marines and their dependents. Operating an annuity scheme, financial support, nursing and residential home for elderly Sailors and Royal Marines and their wives and widows. Advice on welfare matters.

Royal Marines Charity
General enquiries: 023 9298 1920
Health & Wellbeing: 0800 468 1664
Offer a range of assistance aimed at serving and former Royal Marines and their dependents. This includes mental health support, respite breaks, grants to help with financial difficulty and getting about inside and outside the home.

0800 260 6767
Free confidential helpline completely independent of the military chain of command. Civilian staff provide a supportive, listening and signposting service for serving personnel and their families as well as former members of the Armed Forces. The telephone support line is available 365 days a year and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Veterans Agency Helpline
0808 1914 218
Advice and information on veterans issues including war pensions or war widow pensions.