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