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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/armed-forces-community-covenant/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. It encourages 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.
Aims of the Armed Forces Covenants
Local authorities and the armed forces community are encouraged to work together to establish a 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
Covenants in each community 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.
Since we launched the ‘community covenant’ in June 2011, every local authority in mainland Great Britain has signed a ‘community covenant partnership’ with their local armed forces and we are seeing positive benefits as result. The community covenant is now known simply as the Armed Forces Covenant, which covers all aspect of society. Many local authorities have an ‘Armed Forces Champion’. The role of a ‘champion’ is often to make sure that the local authority achieves its commitments to the armed forces community and any blockages are resolved.
Some of the benefits to the service community from covenants created in their local communities include:
- prior to the last deployment the covenant partnership in North Yorkshire designed and provided 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 children of service personnel, 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.
Improving the delivery of local covenant pledges
A report has been released by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and Local Government Association (LGA) to provide local communities with the tools to deliver the Armed Forces Covenant in their area. The report, supported by the Ministry of Defence, provides local councils with examples of best practice and top tips for delivering the covenant across a number of core areas, such as housing, education and children’s services, healthcare and employment, allowing local councils to see how the covenant is being delivered in other parts of the country. There is also a toolkit and a suggested core infrastructure provided.
- Our community – our covenant: improving the delivery of local covenant pledges (Full report PDF)
- Executive summary (PDF)
To support this report one of the MOD’s Covenant Fund’s funding priorities this year is aimed specifically at Local Authorities to support their delivery of the covenant. This will allow local authorities the opportunity to address the issues and aspirations that have emerged from their own shared experiences in delivering the covenant and the improvements that can be made. To apply please complete the online form which can be found on How to apply for a Covenant Fund grant page.
The guide for local authorities on the Armed Forces Covenant
As part of our work to take forward the recommendations of the Our community – our covenant report we have consulted closely with covenant stakeholders to put together a guide to the Armed Forces Covenant aimed specifically at local authorities and their partners.
Our Local authority guide provides an overview of what the covenant is and how it can be delivered within the local community.
As public services are delivered differently in each of the UK home nations, detailed guidance has been prepared for each and can be found by the following these links.
- How to deliver the covenant in your area England
- How to deliver the covenant in your area Scotland
- How to deliver the covenant in your area Wales
- Sut i gyflawni’r Cyfamod yn eich ardal chi Cymru
- How to deliver the covenant in your area Northern Ireland
The Covenant in the Community Conference
We had a very successful day at our Covenant in the Community Conference back in February and are happy to share the presentations and key points raised. These can be found on the Covenant in the community national conference London February 2018: feedback page.
We reported on the activities that we’re taking forward to ensure that the Armed Forces Covenant continues to deliver: We instigated the Ministerial Covenant and Veterans Board last year to provide strategic direction and drive delivery of Covenant commitments across government; we’ve implemented the Defence People Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy to improve our people’s wellbeing and improve their access to mental health services. Also, work has begun on the new Transition Strategy and the Veterans Strategy, we have instigated a Review into the Covenant in Business to highlight and promote best practice within the corporate sector and the Covenant Fund has financed the development of a Map of Need to deliver an interactive map of the current and foreseeable needs of the Armed Forces Community across the UK and so help with the continuing issue of lack of data about the AF community.
In addition we have established a new group – the Covenant Community Action Group (which was originally set up to take forward the recommendations of the Our Community Our Covenant report) to take forward actions to help local delivery of the Covenant. For example one of the suggestions given at our conference was for the development of a best practice guide for AF Champions within local authorities. This has now been included in the Group’s action plan and the Forces in Mind Trust is now investigating the development of an e-learning package for AF champions. We will report back to you as this work proceeds but if you have any suggestions that you’d like the Action Group to consider please e-mail the Covenant team on email@example.com.
Copies of the presentations given and the workshop discussions and conclusions at previous covenant events, can be found by following the links below:
- Presentations and supporting documents from the Bristol, Leicester and Manchester Conferences: February/March 2015
- Armed forces community covenant conference London: November 2015
Armed Forces Covenants by region
Find information on covenants near you:
- North east
- North west
- Yorkshire and Humberside
- East Midlands
- West Midlands
- East England
- South west
- Greater London
- Southern England
- Northern Ireland
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 covenant scheme aims to build on this local level of support within communities.
The Covenant in the Community Conference 2019
We are happy to announce that the Covenant in the Community Conference is planned for 30 April 2019 at Newcastle United Football Club – St James’ Park, Newcastle.
This is your opportunity to hear the latest Covenant news, ask questions of a panel from the MOD, charitable and local government sectors, participate in a variety of workshops, including sessions on the Covenant Fund, Employer Recognition Scheme and Communications, and of course, to meet and hear from others, like yourselves, who are working to deliver the covenant in their local areas.
If you are interested in attending, please complete the registration form