This is a copy of a document that stated a policy of the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. The previous URL of this page was https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/fulfilling-the-commitments-of-the-armed-forces-covenant. Current policies can be found at the GOV.UK policies list.

Issue

The armed forces 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.

The covenant’s 2 principles are that:

  • the armed forces community should not face disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services
  • special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most such as the injured and the bereaved

The covenant exists to redress the disadvantages that the armed forces community may face in comparison to other citizens, and to recognise sacrifices made.

The armed forces covenant is supported by the community covenant and the corporate covenant. The community covenant encourages local communities to support the armed forces community in their area and promote public understanding and awareness. The corporate covenant is a public pledge from businesses and other organisations who wish to demonstrate their support for the armed forces community.

Funding for projects carried out under the armed forces covenant is provided by the Community Covenant Grant Scheme and the veterans accommodation fund.

Actions

The Ministry of Defence (MOD), together with other government departments, the devolved administrations, partner charities and voluntary organisations, has been working to fulfil the series of commitments we made to the armed forces community. The second annual report was published in December 2013 and sets out the progress we’ve made and the areas of disadvantage that still remain.

Actions taken so far

The actions we’ve taken so far include:

  • 3 tranches of the covenant LIBOR fund
  • making funding of £6.5 million available to guarantee that all serving personnel and veterans injured in Iraq or Afghanistan will be able to upgrade to the latest prosthetics technology, including the Genium bionic prosthetic system, where clinically appropriate
  • twice doubling council tax relief, it now stands at nearly £600 per service person for a 6 month deployment
  • introducing a Service Pupil Premium, currently valued at £300 per child, for the children of service personnel
  • setting up an additional fund of £3 million per year, rising to £6 million per year from 2014 to 15, to support state schools catering for significant numbers of children of service personnel, including children of reservists
  • developing shadow postcodes for British Forces Post Office (BFPO) addresses so that service personnel can access online goods and services
  • launching the community covenant and the £30 million Community Covenant Grant Scheme for local projects
  • to date, spent £35 million from fines levied on banks for manipulating the LIBOR, for projects supporting the armed forces community
  • launching a new Defence Discount Service, which offers a privilege card entitling members of the armed forces community to a range of discounts on goods and services
  • launching the corporate covenant to foster stronger relationships between the armed forces community and businesses and charitable organisations

Present and future actions

The armed forces covenant is not an event but a process. The most recent annual report set out a number of areas where more work was required. Over the year ahead the government will among other things:

The importance of the covenant was demonstrated by the chancellor’s decision to make funding for the covenant permanent. A further £10 million per year will be spent from 2015-16, on top of the £65 million already made available, with a further up to £100 million for the armed forces community and emergency services announced in the chancellor’s autumn statement

Background

The armed forces covenant recognises that the government and the nation have an obligation to the armed forces community and it establishes how they should expect to be treated. It was published in May 2011 together with ‘The armed forces covenant: today and tomorrow’ which detailed the steps being taken to support the armed forces community.

The armed forces covenant itself is not a legal document but its key principles have been enshrined in law in the Armed Forces Act 2011. The legislation obliges the Defence Secretary to report annually on progress made by the government in honouring the covenant.

We published the second annual report in December 2013. The report sets out the progress we’ve made and the areas of disadvantage that still remain.

Bills and legislation

The Armed Forces Act 2011 enshrined the principles of the covenant in law.

Contact details

If you wish to contact the the Armed Force Covenant Team please email: parlibranch-Treat-Officials@mod.uk

Appendix 1: corporate covenant

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

What is a corporate covenant?

A corporate covenant is a written and publicised voluntary pledge from businesses and charitable organisations who wish to demonstrate their concrete support for the armed forces community.

Hundreds of organisations have signed the corporate covenant, find out who has signed and what they’re pledging here.

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 Employer Recognition Scheme rewards employers for their varying levels of support for the armed forces in relation to the corporate covenant, with Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards. Find out more here.

What does a corporate covenant include?

All corporate covenants include a core statement of commitment that those adopting the scheme sign up to. This covers the 2 key principles of the armed forces covenant, which are:

  • no member of the armed forces community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen
  • in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate, especially for the injured or bereaved

Each organisation will also be encouraged to offer support in a way most appropriate to their situation and capacity, with the pledge document including a ‘menu’ of options for them to sign up to. This menu covers employment support for veterans, reservists, service spouses and partners, as well as support for cadet units, Armed Forces Day, and discounts for the armed forces community. There is also an opportunity for companies and charitable organisations to add their own commitments based on local circumstances.

Find out about your local Community covenant grant scheme or how to apply for the Libor fund.

Who can sign a corporate covenant?

  • business, charities and other private sector organisations

A corporate covenant can be adopted by a business or charitable organisation of any size, and from any industry, whether you are an employer of a member of the armed forces community or simply wish to acknowledge publiclly your support for the armed forces.

  • Local authorities

There is no requirement for a local authority to sign a corporate covenant. The community covenant is an all encompassing framework for harnessing local authority support for the armed forces covering all elements of work, including such measures as the employment of reserves or other members of the armed forces community. Local authorities do not need to have signed a corporate covenant to be eligible for consideration for an MOD Employers Recognition Scheme Award.

We do understand however that some local authorities believe that signing a corporate covenant will complement their existing activities.

Local authorities should not feel obliged to sign a corporate covenant, but if they wish to the MOD would support this activity.

  • Other public sector bodies

Central government departments should not sign a corporate covenant. As part of the central government structure their organisation will already have adopted positive practices in support of the Armed Forces Covenant, for example, MOD or Department for Works and Pensions.

Other public organisations whose work is one step removed from central government control such as NHS Trusts,police forces or fire brigades are permitted to sign where they have specific pledges to make in support of the Armed Forces Covenant which lies within their delegated responsibility. There is no expectation that such groups should sign a corporate covenant but if they wish to the MOD would support them.

All corporate covenants are to be signed by a person in authority who can ensure that commitments are implemented and maintained. Depending on the size and structure of your organisation, this could mean the chief executive, chair or HR Director of a large multinational; the chief executive or chair of a medium sized company; or the owner or manager of a small business. If you wish to have your pledge co-signed by a member of the armed forces, please contact the Covenant Team at the Ministry of Defence who will make the necessary arrangements.

You can email the covenant team at: corporatecovenant@rfca.mod.uk or subscribe to our email alerts to find out the latest updates for the armed forces covenant.

What can businesses and charitable organisations do to support the armed forces community?

Businesses and charitable organisations who wish to participate will be asked to pledge their support for the two key principles of the armed forces covenant, but also to select from a range of other commitments they may feel able to make.

For example, a business or charity may wish to promote their organisation as armed forces friendly, through participation in Armed Forces Day, or through exclusive discounts to members of the armed forces community. Larger organisations may wish to actively seek to employ serving reservist personnel for the skills they possess, or strive to support the employment of ex-regular personnel and service spouses.

Check out the guidance notes for more examples of best practice and suggestions of the types of commitments you may wish to include in your corporate covenant.

Why should I sign a corporate covenant?

Organisations can benefit significantly from membership to the corporate covenant scheme as it offers an opportunity to build a reputation as a forces friendly business at a time when public support for the armed forces is at an all time high.

The armed forces community can contribute real value to an organisation, both as employees, who bring a wealth of skills and experience, and as customers. The corporate covenant scheme encourages the armed forces community to do their bit to nurture this two way relationship. It is important that defence seeks to foster an open and honest relationship with employers and that we ensure the needs of companies are considered alongside those of defence and the armed forces community.

We ask that members of the armed forces community declare themselves as such and build an open relationship with their employer. To play its part, the MOD will continue to support business needs, including by providing training and support to those leaving the armed forces as they transition to employment in civilian life.

Case Study: coach company recruiting for service leavers

National Express Coaches Job Recruitment HD

How can I sign a corporate covenant?

We are extremely keen to hear from businesses and charitable organisations, of all sizes and from all sectors, who wish to participate in the corporate covenant scheme.

Check out the corporate covenant template and guidance notes to get started with signing your own pledge. Once you have decided which commitments you would like to include, please provide details in your pledge document to explain how you intend to fulfil the commitments. For example, under ‘seeking to support the employment of veterans young and old’, you may wish to state: ‘by advertising vacancies through the Career Transition Partnership and the Recovery Career Service’. You can find other suggestions in the guidance notes.

You are required to register your corporate covenant with the covenant team, and send us your signed corporate covenant, so that we can keep track of those who have signed and what you have pledged to do.

Register your corporate covenant with the armed forces covenant team at corporatecovenant@rfca.mod.uk.

Once we have confirmed your corporate covenant has been registered, we will give you permission to use the corporate covenant logo to demonstrate your commitment to the scheme.

Who has signed the corporate covenant?

Senior representatives from 5 key business organisations (the Business Services Association, the Confederation of British Industries, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors and the British Chambers of Commerce) publically pledged their support for the corporate covenant at its launch in June 2013.

We are now encouraging all companies and charitable organisations to register and sign their own corporate covenant.

How will the scheme be monitored?

Organisations will be encouraged to publicise their corporate covenant allowing customers and employees to challenge its performance. Also, companies and charitable organisations will be required to register their corporate covenant with the armed forces covenant team, and we will publicise their commitments on this website.

We ask that signatories commit to the corporate covenant for five years, after which they will be asked to renew their commitment.

Where can I get more information?

If you require further information, you can contact the covenant team via email: corporatecovenant@rfca.mod.uk.

Appendix 2: what the covenant means to you

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The armed forces covenant is about ensuring that the armed forces community does not face disadvantage due to their links to the armed forces. This is a broad and diverse community, and the covenant will apply to the different groups within that community in different ways.

We are running a series of short surveys to understand the ways in which the armed forces community face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services. Our first survey focused on insurance. The first survey has now closed.

See the information below for how the covenant applies to:

  • regular serving personnel
  • current reservists
  • service leavers and veterans
  • wounded, injured and sick
  • service families
  • bereaved

Regular serving personnel

Since 2011, the covenant has helped regular serving personnel in a number of ways, including:

  • ensuring service personnel in England are placed at the top of the priority list for all government funded homeownership schemes including the government’s £500 million FirstBuy scheme

  • ensuring service personnel are able to apply for service families accommodation online

  • providing £150 million for the purchase of over 700 high quality properties for use as service accommodation in areas of high demand

  • ensuring local authorities in England give additional priority to members of the armed forces community with urgent housing needs

  • continuing to provide a minimum £250 increase for the lowest paid ranks during the 2 year public sector pay freeze

  • doubling Council Tax Relief twice, it now stands at nearly £600 per service person for a 6 month deployment

  • exempting payments made under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and the War Pensions Scheme from the assessment for Universal Credit

  • doubling the tax free Operational Allowance, so that those serving on eligible operations now receive a lump sum of just over £5,000 for a 6 month tour

  • making £3 million per year available for state schools with children of service personnel

  • working with credit reference agencies to ensure service people are not disadvantaged by mobility requirements in accessing credit

  • establishing ‘shadow postcodes’ to give service personnel and their families equal access to online goods and services, and to overcome credit reference difficulties arising from the lack of a recognisable UK postcode

  • providing all new service entrants with a financial capability and awareness briefing during their basic or trade training

  • launching MoneyForce, in conjunction with The Royal British Legion and the Standard Life Charitable Trust, to improve financial awareness among for service personnel and their families

Find out how the covenant has helped serving personnel.

We recognise that there is still more to be done to support serving personnel. Among other things, the government therefore intends to:

  • establish a single living accommodation management information system to provide information on the condition of the estate and inform key investment decisions

  • introduce a new way of working with the Service Complaints Commissioner (SCC) aimed at giving the SCC greater insight into the causes of delay and the effectiveness of case monitoring

  • increase the support available to service personnel to get on the housing ladder through the new £200 million Armed Forces Help to Buy Scheme from April 2014

  • establish a ministerially chaired board to oversee progress with improvements to the provision of service accommodation

  • consider whether there could be more flexibility in the provision of service accommodation, such as extending entitlement to those in long term relationships

Current reservists

The Secretary of State for Defence published a white paper, ‘Reserves in the future force 2020: valuable and valued’, in July 2013. This sets out our plans to sustain and grow our reserve forces.

We recognise the contribution that each reservist makes to the nation through their Reserve service, as well as in their “day job”. Much of the covenant applies to reservists in the same way as it does to regular personnel, and steps are being taken to ensure they are not disadvantaged as a result of their service.

These include:

  • introducing the corporate covenant to encourage employers to introduce HR policies that support and encourage their employees to be a part of the reserve forces

  • delivering an e-learning package to educate GPs in how best to support veterans’ healthcare needs including reservists

  • improving healthcare when not mobilised, including access to full occupational health assessment, dental assessment, rehabilitation for injuries received while training, improved access to mental health support

  • the provision of welfare officers in Army Reserve units to a deliver a more consistent and more accessible level of direct welfare support to reservists and their families

We recognise that there is still more to be done to support reservists. Among other things, the government therefore intends to:

  • provide an allowance for paid annual leave, recognising that reservists deliver capability for defence

  • provide a defined contribution for all paid service in the Reserve Forces to the future Armed Forces Pension Scheme with effect from April 2015

  • extend access to the Standard Learning Credits Scheme to all members of the Reserve Forces from April 2014

Service leavers and veterans

The covenant continues to apply to members of the armed forces and their families even after they have left service.

Since 2011, the covenant has helped veterans in a number of ways, including:

  • giving priority to veterans accessing NHS services for service related conditions

  • delivering an e-learning package to educate GPs in how best to support veterans’ healthcare needs, including raising awareness of the Reserve Mental Health Programme

  • delivering improvements in mental health care provision including extending access to mental health care to 6 months after discharge, increasing in the number of veterans’ mental health professionals, establishing a 24 hour helpline and a support and advice website

  • providing help for those leaving the armed forces to go on to higher/further education: not least through payment of tuition fees, which may be passed on to a spouse or partner in the case of bereavement or extreme injury

  • exempting service leavers from paying tax when using Enhanced Learning Credits to study at Level 3 or above

  • ensuring service personnel in England are placed at the top of the priority list for all government funded homeownership schemes including the government’s £500 million . This priority lasts for up to 12 months after leaving the armed forces

  • exempting payments made under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and the War Pensions Scheme from the assessment for Universal Credit

  • launching a new charity portal for veterans with a link to a dedicated full page of information on each organisation, including services provided and details of how to contact them

  • ensuring that special arrangements are made to allow foreign and commonwealth service personnel to be granted settlement on the day or the day immediately after they leave the armed forces

Find out how the covenant has helped Veterans.

We recognise that there is still more to be done to support veterans. Among other things, the government therefore intends to:

  • make sure that new guidance is available to case officers considering applications for settlement and naturalisation to clarify for both case officers and applicants how military convictions will affect an application

Wounded, injured and sick

One of the covenant’s key principles is that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most, such as the injured and the bereaved. Since 2011, the covenant has helped wounded, injured and sick service personnel in a number of ways, including:

  • investing up to £17.5 million to support the commissioning of specialist prosthetic and rehabilitation services for amputee veterans through a number of multi-disciplinary centres in England

  • making prosthetic provision through the NHS the same level as that provided to serving personnel by the MOD

  • delivering a number of improvements in mental health care provision, including extending access to mental health care to 6 months after discharge, increasing the number of veterans’ mental health professionals, a 24 hour helpline and a support and advice website, the integration of mental health assessments into routine service medicals

  • providing up to 3 free cycles of IVF for seriously injured personnel in England and Scotland

  • introducing the Defence Recovery Capability, in partnership with Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion, to facilitate either the swiftest return to duty or the smoothest transition to an appropriate skilled and supported civilian life for all seriously wounded, injured or sick long term service personnel

  • establishing a unified Defence Primary Healthcare Service to improve patient care through more coherent policy making and direction; reduce costs by eliminating duplication and making more efficient use of resources; and ensure more effective links with the NHS

  • giving priority to veterans accessing NHS services for service related conditions

  • delivering an e-learning package to educate GPs in how best to support veterans’ healthcare needs

  • exempting payments made under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and the War Pensions Scheme from the assessment for Universal Credit

  • ensuring that continuous automatic entitlement to Blue Badges is in place for seriously injured service personnel and veterans

Find out how the covenant has helped Wounded, injured and sick.

We recognise that there is still more to be done to support wounded, injured and sick service personnel. Among other things, the government therefore intends to:

Service families

The covenant recognises the contribution that is made by the families of serving personnel, reservists and veterans. Since 2011, the covenant has helped spouses, partners and families in a number of ways, including:

  • introducing a scheme to provide scholarships to bereaved children of service personnel

  • providing help for those leaving the armed forces to go on to higher or further education, through payment of tuition fees, which may be passed to a spouse or partner in the case of a death or serious injury

  • introducing the Service Pupil Premium for the children of those serving and valued at £300 per child from April 2013, with a total of £17 million expected to be spent in 2013 to 2014

  • widening access to the Service Pupil Premium to include any child in England who was eligible in 2011 but whose serving parent has for whatever reason since left the service

  • introducing a ‘Pupil information profile’ to help with the transfer of key information when service children move from one school to another

  • allowing infant schools in England to exceed the 30 pupil limit for classes in order to accommodate children of service personnel and offer a place in advance of a service family moving into the area

  • making a service child indicator part of the Annual School Census in England and the Department for Education is now able to identify separately the children of parents in the armed forces

  • providing £150 million for the purchase of over 700 high quality properties for use as service family accommodation in areas of high demand

  • making a further £5 million available to upgrade service family accommodation (SFA). This will help bring long term empty properties back into use, thus reducing the use of costly substitute SFA

  • establishing an automated self-preference system, allowing service personnel to see online ‘estate agent’ type details for available SFA, to register their top 3 preferences for their new home and to book their house moves

  • exempting payments made under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and the War Pensions Scheme from the assessment for Universal Credit

  • doubling the Families Welfare Grant

  • launching MoneyForce, in conjunction with The Royal British Legion and Standard Life Charitable Trust, to improve financial awareness among Service personnel and their families

Find out how the covenant has helped Service families.

We recognise that there is still more to be done to support families. Among other things, the government therefore intends to:

  • review the impact of the revised admissions guidance to ensure that it is removing disadvantage, where possible, by helping service personnel to secure a place at their school of choice in England

  • continue to review the use of Service pupil premium and publish examples of best practice to help ensure that it is addressing disadvantages service children

  • review the support fund for state schools with service children to ensure it continues to be used to mitigate the effects of exceptional mobility and deployment on schools, academies and free schools within the UK

  • ensure that the specific needs of children of service personnel are recognised in particular with the new academies and free schools in England

  • gather evidence of the particular needs of service children when it comes to childcare provision within the UK to identify whether there is any disadvantage due to the nature of their work

  • seek clarification on how higher education will be funded, identify if this will disadvantage service children and seek to address any disadvantages

  • arrange for Ofsted to report on the use of the Service Pupil Premium as part of inspections of schools with service children

  • monitor any changes to the ‘Residential support scheme’ to ensure that service children are not disadvantaged

  • continue to look for opportunities to further mitigate the impact of years 2 and 3 of the planned pause on improvements to service family accommodation (SFA)

  • establish a ministerially-chaired board to oversee progress with improvements to the provision of SFA

  • consider whether there could be more flexibility in the provision of SFA, such as extending entitlement to those in long-term relationships

Bereaved

One of the covenant’s key principles is that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most, such as the injured and the bereaved. Although we can never do enough to compensate for the loss of a loved one, we will continue to do what we can to support the bereaved. The covenant has helped the bereaved in a number of ways, including:

  • introducing a scheme to provide scholarships for bereaved service children

  • extending the payment of tuition fees for higher/further education to the spouses or partners taking up the entitlement because of bereavement or extreme injury of a discharged Service person

  • including bereaved spouses or civil partners at the top of the priority list for the government’s £500 million FirstBuy scheme in England, which is designed to help first time buyers; and at the top of the priority list for all other government-funded home ownership schemes

  • exempting payments made under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and the War Pensions Scheme from the assessment for Universal Credit

  • increasing the Funeral Expenses Grant to £1000 to help families with the incidental expenses associated with a funeral. The changed grant will now be paid to each service family that suffers a bereavement, regardless of whether a service funeral is held

  • creating a specialist cadre of coroners available to investigate the deaths of service personnel on active service, or while training and preparing for active service

You can email the Armed Forces Covenant Team at: corporatecovenant@rfca.mod.uk or subscribe to our email alerts to find out the latest updates for the armed forces covenant.

Appendix 3: armed forces community covenant

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

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 conferences 2015

A big thank you to all those that could make the time to come along to one of our community covenant conferences. The purpose of these events was 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. They were great opportunities 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.

You can share some of the presentations and discussions that took place by following this link.

We are currently planning conferences for later in the year. We already have a London conference planned for Wednesday 4 November 2015. So keep the date clear and watch this space for more details nearer the time.

Thanks again for all your support.

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

Appendix 4: armed forces covenant

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The armed forces 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’s not just a piece of paper

The armed forces covenant was published in May 2011 along with a document called ‘Today and Tomorrow’ which lists the nearly 100 real, tangible commitments the government has made to the armed forces community. Both can be found on the armed forces covenant: guidance and actions page.

The armed forces covenant itself is not a legal document but its key principles have been enshrined in law in the Armed Forces Act 2011. The legislation obliges the Defence Secretary to report annually on progress made by the government in honouring the covenant.

We are running a series of short surveys to understand the ways in which the Armed Forces community face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services. Our first survey focused on insurance. The first survey is now closed.

In June 2013 the Chancellor announced that the financial commitment to the armed forces covenant would be made permanent through a £10 million fund per annum in perpetuity, from financial year 2015/16 onwards. The new fund will replace all previous covenant funding streams, including the LIBOR derived grant funds and the community covenant funding.

Following a lessons learned exercise the MOD has looked at a number of options to improve how the new fund is managed. We are currently developing the management arrangements for our preferred option, which we expect to be in place by the Summer.

The Covenant Reference Group (CRG) will agree priorities for the fund, following discussion at its next meeting. The criteria for applying to the fund will subsequently be published to coincide with announcement of the new management arrangements.

It’s about local communities

The covenant is not just about the government delivering commitments on a national level. More than 100 local communities have signed a community covenant.

It is a voluntary statement of mutual support between civilians and the armed forces in their area to encourage mutual understanding and to bring the two communities together. Alongside it we run the Community Covenant Grant Scheme, set up to fund projects that support its aims.

It is also supported by the corporate covenant which is a public pledge from businesses and other organisations who wish to demonstrate their support for the armed forces community.

In February 2013, the importance of the covenant was highlighted by the decision of the Chancellor to transfer £35 million from fines levied on the banks for attempting to manipulate LIBOR to the MOD for use in supporting the armed forces community. Over 3 tranches, the fund has supported 96 charities and good causes. Visit our ‘LIBOR fund: successful projects’ page to find out more.

In 2013, the Chancellor announced that up to £100 million would be made available to support service and other charities. £40 million of the announced £100 million has been allocated to support projects which provide veterans accommodation. Visit the Veterans accommodation fund for full details

It’s about fair treatment

For most of the armed forces community, the covenant is about removing disadvantage so that you get the same outcome as the civilian community.

For example, if you and your family are posted somewhere new, you shouldn’t struggle to get your child into a local school. We have made sure that doesn’t happen by letting schools go over their maximum class size to fit in a child of service personnel. Visit: Armed forces covenant: admissions to schools in England to find out more.

It’s about special consideration

It’s not about getting special treatment that ordinary citizens wouldn’t receive, or getting a better result. For those that have given the most, such as the injured and the bereaved, we do make an exception.

For example, we’ve made sure that service personnel with genital injuries are guaranteed three cycles of IVF on the NHS and we’ve established a scholarship fund for bereaved children of service personnel.

Covenant achievements

A huge number of positive changes have been made since May 2011, but sometimes you might not recognise them as covenant commitments.

Visit: ‘What the covenant means to you’ to find out how the covenant has helped the armed forces community and what commitments we are working on.

Contact us

You can email the Armed Forces Covenant Team at: corporatecovenant@rfca.mod.uk or subscribe to our email alerts to find out the latest updates for the armed forces covenant.