Former Service personnel and their families are being asked how the transition to civilian life could be improved for Armed Forces leavers.
Lord Ashcroft, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Veterans’ Transition, is launching a website through which veterans, families and others with an interest in the area can report their experiences, including problems they have encountered, and make suggestions as to how the process could be improved.
Contributions will be considered as part of Lord Ashcroft’s official review of transition, which will report at the end of 2013.
The review will consider all aspects of transition including employment, health, housing and education. As well as listening to the experiences of individuals, Lord Ashcroft’s team will consult industry, local authorities and government departments, as well as other bodies including Service charities and the Armed Forces themselves. Where necessary, Lord Ashcroft will recommend to the government specific changes of policy or practice.
The work aims to build on the Armed Forces Covenant, which commits the government to ensuring that veterans receive fair and equal treatment and are not disadvantaged as a result of their service to the nation.
Lord Ashcroft said:
It is very important to me to get a feel for what those going through the process of leaving the Services actually experience. I want to know whether there are gaps between the government’s good intentions and what happens to individuals on the ground.
We will consult widely, but I also want to hear directly from those who have a view and want to be heard. The experiences of individuals and families who have made the transition from military to civilian life will play an important part in the review, and ultimately, I hope, in ensuring those who have served the country get the support they deserve.
Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Mark Francois added:
This government is committed to looking after all those who have given so much to protect and serve our country. We want to make sure that Service personnel get all the support and help they need when they make the transition to civilian life.
The Prime Minister appointed Lord Ashcroft as his special representative for Veterans’ Transition and I look forward to supporting his work. As part of that I want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved and contribute to his consultation.