The Covenant

Community Covenant
It is vital to reward and recognise what our Armed Forces do for us. 
This recognition extends not just to those in the Services but also their families and veterans, and especially the injured and the bereaved.

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.

The Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2014

The Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2015

The Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2016

Find out more about the Armed Forces Covenant

Guidance on how to apply for covenant funding can be viewed via the MoD website.
The focuses the Covenant in 2017 are as follows:

  • families in stress
  • strengthening local government delivery of the covenant
  • Armed Forces Covenant: local grants
  • a single grant to produce a map of need for the Covenant Fund
  • a single grant to produce an outcomes framework for the Covenant Fund
  • a single grant for the provision of a digital support programme for the Covenant Fund

Any organisation that meets the criteria of the Covenant Grant Scheme can apply. There are no limits to who can apply to the grant from Age Concern to a childcare provision - if you can demonstrate and meet the criteria then please do apply.

Sussex Community Covenant
As part of the Sussex Managed Clinical Networks, in February 2011 the Sussex Armed Forces Network was 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 Covenant was signed for the NHS in Sussex in March 2012 by Amanda Fadero, Chief Executive Officer of NHS Sussex and Brigadier Simon P Wolsey OBE, Regional Brigade Commander, 2 (South East) Brigade.

Covenant signing

The remit of the Sussex Armed Forces Network Working Group is to provide:

  • A strategic networking and liaison group for the NHS in Sussex to work with provider organisations to improve health services for leaving service personnel and their families, families of serving military, reservists and veterans
  • Strategic overview and assessment of Military Health work programmes within the Sussex footprint to deliver requirements within the annual NHS Operating Framework and MOD partnership with NHS
  • To ensure Joint working with local authorities e.g. on social care, housing etc
  • To lead on specific areas of work across Sussex:
    • To ensure implementation of the Ministry of Defence / NHS Transition Protocol through awareness raising and communication
    • To ensure the implementation of the Murrison Report to improve access to mental health services by veterans
    • To ensure equality of access for armed services personnel/veterans and their families (this may require commissioning a needs assessment by the cluster)
    • To ensure effective communication, collaboration with MoD / reservist / charitable bodies that are actively supporting this agenda in Sussex, increase awareness, training and development of all partners within Sussex.
    Forces Connect South East
    Working in partnership with Surrey County Council, Brighton & Hove Unitary Authority, East Sussex County Council, Hampshire County Council, Kent County Council, Medway Unitary Authority and West Sussex County Council a bid was submitted to the Covenant Fund to deliver fair and consistent access to public services for the Armed Forces Community across the South-East. It is planned that this will be achieved by building upon the core infrastructure already established, and the exemplary practice already in place:

    • Staff in front-line services across the Local Authorities will be well-trained in the aims of the Covenant and areas of potential disadvantage. New referral pathways will enable the Armed Forces Community to access appropriate and timely support.
    • The Armed Forces Community and their families will have access to clear information and signposting to support them in transition to civilian life, and in their day to day dealings with public services.
    • Local Authorities nationwide will benefit from the development of training materials that they can adopt internally to the benefit of the Armed Forces Community.

    The objective is to embed and mainstream the delivery of the Covenant across the South-East so that the Armed Forces Community will not face disadvantage compared to any other citizens in provision of public services.
    Through this project, we will ensure that staff across the South-East Region are ‘Forces aware and Forces friendly’, able to identify and respond appropriately to the specific needs of the Armed Forces Community. By working in partnership, and sharing the areas of expertise already developed, we will ensure consistency of approach and the removal of barriers to fair access to public services.

    In 2014 the Sussex Armed forces successfully submitted a bid 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.

    Champions Training
    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 had been developed for participants to use when they return to their organisation. The aim was to train a group of 30 Armed Forces Champions over the two days.

    An e-learning package had 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 included:

    • The Military Covenant
    • Military Mental Health
    • Military Culture
    • Accessing Military Health Records.

    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 built on the previous one day event held on 28 November 2012 and undertook a more tailored approach to enable a positive learning experience for the range of attendees. The event included 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 was 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 would compile and produce accessible information to enable military veterans to access services such as housing, training, employment and health, including mental health.
    The mapping would connect work that was 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 would 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 was to develop a Directory of Services which will be available on this website.