The first Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report was published on Thursday 6th December 2012. It explains what has been done since the interim report published in 2011, and what we plan to do to address the disadvantages that remain.
The Covenant sets out the relationship between the nation, the government and the Armed Forces. It recognises that the whole nation has a moral obligation to members of the Armed Forces and their families, and it establishes how they should expect to be treated. It exists to redress the disadvantages that the Armed Forces community faces in comparison to other citizens, and to recognise sacrifices made. In some cases this will require special consideration, especially for those who have given the most such as those who are injured and bereaved. Since the Armed Forces Covenant was published in May 2011, the government, partner charities and voluntary organisations have been very busy. We have delivered on a number of commitments, introduced the Community Covenant (with a £30m grant scheme to support it) and produced the first statutory annual report on our progress and on where disadvantages remain.
The principle behind the Covenant is that the Armed Forces Community should not face disadvantage because of its military experience. In some cases, such as the sick, injured or bereaved, this means giving special consideration to enable access to public or commercial services that civilians would not receive. The Covenant covers issues from housing and education to support after Service. It is crucial to the government that it, and the nation, recognises the unique and immense sacrifices the Armed Forces Community makes.
How does the corporate covenant fit into the ‘covenant family’?
The corporate covenant has been designed to complement the armed forces covenant and sit alongside the community covenant. The armed forces covenant sets out the moral obligation of society towards members of the armed forces community and the community covenant provides a mechanism for local authorities and communities to express support for members of the armed forces community. The corporate covenant is designed to allow businesses and charitable organisations to express their support, and commit to ways in which they can provide that support.
The risk of death (occupational attributable mortality) for the Army overall is currently around one in 1000 per year, or about 150 times greater than for the general working population. Risk of serious injury (for example loss of limbs, eyes or other body parts) is substantially increased.
“The government promises to help and support people in the Armed Forces when they need it most. This is ‘the Military Covenant’, which is now to be enacted in law." The Nation’s Commitment: Cross-Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans Command 7424 July 2008 pg 13
What is the Community Covenant?
A Community Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local Armed Forces Community. It is intended to complement, at local level, the Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the moral obligation between the Nation, the Government and the Armed Forces.
The aim of the Community Covenant is to encourage local communities to support the Service community in their area and promote understanding and awareness amongst the public of issues affecting the Armed Forces Community.
It is supported by the Community Covenant Grant Scheme which has been established to financially support projects, at the local level, which strengthen the ties or the mutual understanding between members of the Armed Forces Community and the wider community in which they live. The Community Covenant is a local agreement between an individual or organisation with the Military for Defence on behalf of serving personnel, veterans and their families to show support in meeting the military covenant. There are covenants both for local authorities and separately with the NHS.
Armed Forces national requirements
The 2012/13 planning process for NHS South of England will deliver an Operating Plan. The Operating Plan, which is developed jointly with Clinical Commissioning Groups, is expected to meet the key challenges and delivery priorities in The Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2012/13, including :
The Military Covenant preserves the key principles of the Command Paper
Find out more
Framework for preparing the operating framework for NHS SofE for 2012/13 & South East Coast Armed Forces Forum 7th February 2011, Dave Rutter, Head - Military Health & Veterans Department of Health presentation
Sussex Community Covenant
As part of the Sussex Managed Clinical Networks, the Sussex Armed Forces Network has been developed. The Network brings stakeholders together from the Health Service and Statutory Providers, with Veterans, Serving Personnel, Charitable and Voluntary Sector, to develop and support this programme of work. The remit of the Sussex Armed Forces Health Working Group is to provide:
The aim of the Community Covenant Grant Scheme is to help fund local projects that work to create relationships or strengthen ties between members of the Armed Forces Community
Who can apply?
Any organisation that meets the criteria of the Covenant Grant Scheme. There are no limits to who can apply to the grant from Age Concern to a childcare provision - if they can demonstrate and meet the criteria then we want them to apply.
The aim of the bid is to deliver a programme of interconnected training/development opportunities through a series of mediums in order to increase the awareness of the challenges facing the Armed Forces community in order to increase integration between the two communities and aid the transition of individuals back into civilian life.
This would involve a day’s Cultural Awareness training for those who have little previous experience of the Armed Forces followed by a day of information sharing between organisations to examine and explore their services and the best routes the Armed Forces community to gain access to them. Thus allowing for the development of an effective network to increase and reinforce the integration between communities. A resource pack has been developed that will be given to each of the participants to use when they return to their organisation. The aim is to train a group of 30 Armed Forces Champions over the two days.
An e-learning package has been developed in Sussex to enable mental health staff and other interested parties to work with veterans and reservists. This package consists of 4 modules which include:
This has been moved to this new website to allow general access and is being adapted to allow wider benefits from the modules.
The next step is to develop further modules to aid other healthcare professionals, law enforcement, local authorities and county councils which will provide a quicker introduction for the Champions who change on a regular basis and will include wider range of topics.
Mental health event
To provide a one day event for 100 people on Mental Health and the Armed Forces. It will build on the previous one day event held on 28 November 2012 and undertake a more tailored approach to enable a positive learning experience for the range of attendees. It is expected that attendees will range from mental health specialists to those who need to be aware of mental health and learn to undertake basic assessments to enable onward referral to the correct organisation/support. The event will also include expert speakers and trainers to facilitate the learning experience.
Brighton and Hove Civil Partnership Board –Mapping of services and support for military veterans pan Sussex
In September 2013 the group submitted a bid to the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant Board to fund a post of Sussex Military Veterans Pathway to Independence Project Manager. The aim of this post will be to design, deliver and manage a project to map out services and support for military veterans across 13 District, County and Unitary Authorities pan Sussex.
In mapping the services the project will compile and produce accessible information to enable military veterans to access services such as housing, training, employment and health, including mental health.
The mapping will connect work that is being carried out by other partner agencies in the Health services, and those providing dedicated services such as Royal British Legion and SSAFA thereby ensuring a single gateway to services that will help increase potential take up of services in these areas.
On 27th November 2013 the Board heard that the bid had been successful and £40,000 had been awarded to the Brighton & Hove Community Covenant Civil Military Partnership Board to begin work to move the project forward.
One of the outcomes of this bid will to be to develop a Directory of Services which will be available on this website.