All councils in England have signed the voluntary Armed Forces Covenant and are committed to honouring their obligations to those who have served their country. Councils are helping serving and ex-service personnel and their families to have the same equality of access to public services as their civilian neighbours in areas such as housing, health, employment, education, welfare and transport.
- Armed Forces serving personnel, veterans and their families are valued members of our communities and that is why all councils have signed the voluntary Armed Forces Covenant and are committed to honouring their obligations to those who have served their country.
- Councils work with partner organisations to provide a range of services that support serving personnel and their families. They also help veterans and their families adjust from the Armed Forces to civilian life, including housing, money advice, employment support and health and wellbeing services.
- We welcome the additional funding for the mental health of veterans announced in the Chancellor’s Budget last month which will help to ensure that veterans in need of mental health support can access timely, effective and integrated services. The funding should be available to veterans and managed through councils who want to work with armed forces charities, health and other local partners to further strengthen mental health support for veterans and ensure it links to wider mental health activity.
- The vast majority of councils have appointed an Armed Forces Champion – usually an elected councillor – who helps to embed the Covenant across local services, galvanising partners and providing challenge. While the Champion role is working well, we also need to ensure sufficient resources to enable councils to meet their Covenant obligations.
- The scale of the funding challenge facing local government means it is becoming increasingly challenging to maintain the current level of support for the Armed Forces Community.
- At a time when council budgets are under pressure, it is a concern that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Covenant funding for councils starts to end from March 2019, which will impact upon future capacity to deliver specific projects that further the Covenant locally. We want to support councils to share the learning from Covenant funded projects and embed Covenant activity across councils and partners. We are therefore calling on the Government to continue with its MoD Covenant funding for councils.
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Local Government Association Briefing Armed Forces Covenant, House of Commons debate, 22 November 2018