Policy

Armed forces covenant

Supporting detail:

Armed forces community covenant

Community covenants complement, at a 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 armed forces community in their area and promote understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the armed forces community. Visit community-covenants-by-region to find information on Community Covenants near you

Many people have become involved in supporting the armed forces community through service charities, or more recently by participating in Armed Forces Day. They have shown their support through fundraising, military celebrations and open days, attending homecoming parades and repatriation ceremonies and offering commercial discounts. Even simple demonstrations of support, such as displaying the Armed Forces Day window sticker in cars and businesses, have had a positive effect and boosted the morale of our armed forces community. The community covenant scheme aims to build on this local level of support.

Find out about your local Community covenant grant scheme or to find out if your project is eligible for the veterans accommodation fund.

Aims of the community covenant

Local authorities and the armed forces community are encouraged to work together to establish a community covenant in their area in order to:

  • encourage local communities to support the armed forces community in their areas and to nurture public understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the armed forces community
  • recognise and remember the sacrifices faced by the armed forces community
  • encourage activities which help to integrate the armed forces community into local life
  • encourage the armed forces community to help and support the wider community, whether through participation in events and joint projects, or other forms of engagement

Community covenants may look quite different from one location to another. This is a scheme where one size does not fit all, and the nature of the support offered will be determined by both need and capacity

This pledge sets out what a community covenant seeks to achieve in a particular area and, where possible, will be signed by representatives from all parts of the community. In most cases the lead signatories will be a senior representative from the local authority and one from the services who will sign on behalf of the armed forces community, whether that is the local military unit in your areas or those representing veterans’ or families groups.

If you are interested in signing your own community covenant please see the template and guidelines available at community covenant pledge and to stay updated on the work of the community covenant check out our quarterly community covenant e-newsletter

Community covenant achievements

Since we launched the community covenant in June 2011 almost 400 local authorities have signed a community covenant partnership with their local armed forces (that’s some 98%) and we are seeing positive benefits as result. Many local authorities who have signed, or are planning to sign, a community covenant, have an ‘Armed Forces Champion’. The role of a ‘champion’ is often to make sure that the local authority delivers on its commitments to the armed forces community and any blockages in delivery are resolved.

Some of the benefits to the service community from community covenants include:

  • prior to the last deployment the community covenant partnership in North Yorkshire designed and delivered a programme called “Lost Worlds” to 150 council staff who were then better able to support families and particularly children and young people more effectively
  • Vale of Glamorgan council introduced a new policy of asking customers if they have an armed forces connection when they contact the council in order to ensure that the service community receives all the services they are entitled to and has worked with external partners to provide an online database of support available to the community
  • Hampshire County Council are working closely with schools to look at how we spread best practice in the support of service children, and have established a newsletter in order to spread ideas and practical solutions
  • DG First Contact was established by Dumfries and Galloway to develop a strategy with key decision makers and service providers in Dumfries and Galloway to support ex-service personnel, with Dumfries and Galloway becoming one of the first regions in Scotland to set up a priority system for re-settling veterans in the social housing sector
  • Birmingham Council has a dedicated Armed Forces Housing Officer to support those leaving the services
  • Buckinghamshire County Council set up an action plan looking at issues such as using GP groups to help gather information on the armed forces community; ensuring children of service personnel have access to appropriate school places; looking at skill matching armed forces skills to their civilian counterparts; providing links between employers and ex-service personnel

Find out how the Department for Work & Pensions is improving support for members of the armed forces and their families under the Armed Forces Covenant at: Jobcentre Plus services for the armed forces and their families.

Community covenant conference 2014/15

We will be holding a series of community covenant conferences early 2015.

The purpose of these events is to provide a forum to discuss the needs of the armed forces community and how local authorities can support them through their commitments in their community covenant. There will be an opportunity to hear from key members of the armed forces community and to discuss with fellow professionals and other service deliverers the key challenges to embedding and sustaining community covenants in the future. The event is designed for local authority armed forces champions and those providing key services to the armed forces community.

To ensure maximum possible attendance we will be holding 3 events across the UK.

Date Venue
25 February 2015 The Science Centre, Bristol
17 March 2015 King Power Stadium, Leicester
25 March 2015 Imperial War Museum, Manchester

To help structure and plan the day we would liked to some of your thoughts and views in advance on:

  • what has been your experience of the armed forces community covenant?
  • what do you need from the MOD?
  • what more would you like to do?
  • what extra help and support do you need?
  • how can we all communicate with one another better?
  • do you have areas of challenge that you want to share?
  • have you found solutions that others could benefit from?

If you would like to apply for a place (and previous conferences have all been over subscribed) please complete the Armed forces community covenant conference registration form (MS Word Document, 592KB) and email it to: covenant-mailbox@mod.uk.

We welcome your comments, email us: covenant-mailbox@mod.uk