The Joint Casualty and Compassionate Cell (JCCC) is the lead organisation for MOD in managing and co-ordinating practical requirements following the death, injury or serious illness of a Service Person. For the Army, the Bereavement and Aftercare Support (BAS) team is the Notifying Authority for the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Nepal and Brunei, and monitors all other Army notifiable casualties world-wide.
BAS is also the focus for the aftercare support of all bereaved families, working through the Regional Points of Command (RPoC) and the Visiting Officers (VO), and is responsible for the training of Casualty Notifying Officers (CNOs) and VOs in all the Regions, and ensuring that there are sufficient numbers.
All casualties are reported to the JCCC in the first instance.
The Notifying Authority is then responsible for the timely appointing of Casualty Notifying Officers and Visiting Officers, as and when required, working closely with Joint Casualty and Compassionate Cell.
Bereavement and Aftercare Support monitors the appointment of all Casualty Notifying Officers and Visiting Officers and is responsible for the oversight of good practice.
In more complex and high profile cases, Bereavement and Aftercare Support will tend to get more involved with Regional Points of Commands and Visiting Officers early on, particularly on the investigation and inquiry side.
Bereavement and Aftercare Support will always monitor the stand-down of Visiting Officers, and deal directly with families afterwards, as required.
The Casualty Notifying Officers will personally visit the nominated family as soon as possible after the incident. They will inform them about the casualty, providing the facts of the incident (given that these might not all be known at this stage).
Among other tasks, they will also advise of any potential media interest and ascertain the family’s wishes on any delay in releasing the name of the deceased.
Following the Casualty Notifying Officers visit, the Visiting Officers takes on the role of liaising with the family, acting as the MOD/Army’s representative. The Visiting Officer is the conduit for updating the family and dealing with any questions that they have relating to the Army and its responsibilities. The Visiting Officer will provide support to the family during major milestones which may include the funeral, provision and erection of a headstone, Service Inquiry and Coroner’s Inquest, before ultimately handing over responsibility to the Veterans Welfare Service and the relevant Corps or Regimental HQ for any ongoing aftercare matters.
The Purple Pack has been produced by Joint Casualty and Compassionate Cell as a resource which provides basic guidance on many of the concerns of a Service family following bereavement, and sign posts a number of charities.
It complements the advice provided by the Casualty Notifying Officers and Visiting Officer.