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The Armed Forces Covenant where you are: improving the delivery of local Covenant pledges

A new report entitled ‘Our Community – Our Covenant’, which was jointly commissioned by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and Local Government Association (LGA) to identify ways to improve the local delivery of the Government’s Armed Forces Covenant, has found that 38% of Armed Forces Community members felt disadvantaged as a result of their service.

The Report, released today, 30th August, and supported by the Ministry of Defence, by using examples of good practice from across Great Britain, provides an outline of the core infrastructure needed to deliver the Covenant’s aims, and offers a number of key recommendations to help better deliver these objectives.  The recommendations apply to Government, local councils, military charities and the Armed Forces Community itself.

The Report identified in some aspects a mis-match between what is perceived to be the Covenant’s remit, and what is actually being delivered.

All local authorities in Great Britain have signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant and to better delivering its objectives.   Notwithstanding the recent efforts the MOD has put in to better prepare its people to transition into civilian life, the Report finds that the MOD could do more.  In addition, not all council Chief Executives reported that they had a ‘good’ understanding of the Covenant, and an active action plan.  The Report also underlines the importance of individuals in the Armed Forces Community taking responsibility for their own transition.

The Report produced a number of recommendations, including:

  • Producing an LGA and Government agreed statement on what the Covenant can and cannot be expected to deliver;
  • Enhancing the effectiveness of local authorities’ Covenant coordinating groups by ensuring each has the core infrastructure in place to meet local needs;
  • Creating an action research framework to support good practice for councils in their delivery of local Covenant pledges;
  • Improving the transition process by better tracing and communicating with all serving and ex-Service members of the Armed Forces Community; and
  • Exploring how to improve internal and external communications between significant Armed Forces bases and councils.

The Report used a broad spectrum of resources including: a literature review; surveys of council Chief Executives, council Armed Forces Covenant champions, stakeholders and members of the Armed Forces Community; and ‘deep dive’ research visits across the country.  The Report proposes further work to create an even better understanding of local Covenant pledge delivery, and to establish a learning network to capture and share good practices.

Founded in January 2012, the FiMT aims to provide an evidence base that will influence and underpin policy making and service delivery in order to enable ex-Service personnel and their families to lead successful civilian lives. FiMT awards grants and commissions research, coordinates the efforts of others, and supports projects that deliver long-term solutions to the challenges faced.

The Armed Forces Covenant was introduced in 2011 by the Government to ensure that “those who serve and have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly”. The Covenant focusses on helping members of the Armed Forces Community “have the same access to government and commercial services and products as any other citizen.” This includes ensuring that Armed Forces Communities do not miss out on a range of services, including priority housing, school places for their children, jobs and health support.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “When you leave the Armed Forces, it can be a significant challenge to adapt to the pressures and demands of everyday civilian life, and the support of local government working with the Ministry of Defence through the Armed Forces Covenant is vital. The findings of this report provide us with an invaluable evidence-base for how the Armed Forces Covenant is currently working, and is perceived to work. It also demonstrates how the development of a stronger infrastructure can ensure that no one in the Armed Forces Community is left behind.  I urge the MOD, local councils, military charities and members of the Armed Forces Community themselves, to examine these recommendations carefully, and so deliver the support our Armed Forces, and their families, deserve.”

The Local Government Association’s Portfolio Holder for Community Wellbeing, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said:

“Councils are committed to ensuring our Armed Forces and their families get the support they need.  Local government has a long and lasting relationship with our Armed Forces community and we are deeply grateful to our servicemen and women for their commitment, service and sacrifice to our country.  We are also aware that it’s rarely just the individual who makes sacrifices, but whole families. The Armed Forces community is an integral part of who we are as a nation and an inspiration to us all.

All councils across the country have signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant, which demonstrates their commitment to supporting those in service, as well as their families, our veterans and reservists. We are very keen to continue working with the Ministry of Defence and FiMT to help councils understand where they can better support our servicemen and women, and their families.  Clearly there are areas where we can improve and we are grateful for the learning that we can take away from this important report.”

Read the report here.

                                                                                   -ENDS-

 Notes to Editor

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

  • FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.  FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.
  • The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.
  • FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.
  • All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

Useful links

 

AFF, NFF and RAF FF celebrate Forces in Mind Trust grant award, enabling support to families going through transition

The three Armed Forces Families Federations, at the heart of military family life, are today celebrating the news that they were successful in a joint grant application to the Forces in Mind Trust.

The substantial grant will allow funding for each Families Federation to train and employ a Transition Liaison Officer. They will be the expert on all issues associated with transition and will research the current support available and identify gaps.   They will support families in transition from military to civilian life, acting as their advocate and champion, and highlighting where there is a need for improvement and change.

The joint application to the Forces in Mind Trust originated when the three Federations identified that families have difficulty accessing the plethora of events and services on offer for those about to transition, due to these generally being directed at Serving personnel rather than at their families.

Anna Wright from the Naval Families Federation says,

“We acknowledge that serving personnel receive robust transition advice and support, which is good.  However, the evidence from all 3 Services points towards the fact that families do not engage with support and advice on transition, either because it isn’t accessible or because it simply isn’t there.

“Service families play an incredibly important role in supporting their Service person during their service and this continues as they transition into civilian life. Alongside our colleagues in the other Families Federations, we decided to approach the Forces in Mind Trust for funding to allow us to begin to address this gap.”

Louise Simpson, Evidence and Research Director, AFF, continues

“This grant will not only allow us to give ‘boots on the ground’ support to families who are vital in a successful transition for Service leavers, it will also allow us to understand the needs of transitioning families now and in the future by monitoring and evaluating the evidence provided by our Transition Officers.  This will ensure that the legacy of this grant will be far reaching and its benefit felt for many years to come.”

Bill Mahon from the RAF FF concludes,

“This generous grant from the Forces in Mind Trust will give us the tools necessary to empower and engage families in the transition process for many years to come, ensuring that the core value of each Family Federation, putting families first, is upheld.”

With the award of the grant confirmed, each Federation will now begin the task of employing and training their Transition Officers.  The role will be varied, including responding to transition queries from families, liaising with relevant stakeholders, and designing and implementing an accessible ‘transition toolkit’ for families to use in the future.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust says,

“We know from our Families Engagement Programme, and our wider work, that the families of Service personnel play a hugely important role in helping to achieve a successful, sustainable transition. It is vital that they are themselves supported during the transition period and that their particular needs and circumstances are adequately addressed. The posts funded by this grant will be a valuable source of support and make a valuable contribution to this key component of transition.”

For more information on the work which AFF, NFF, RAF FF, and Forces in Mind Trust carry out please visit their websites.

ENDS

Notes to Editor:

AFF

  • The Army Families Federation (AFF) is the independent voice of Army families and works hard to improve the quality of life for Army families around the world – on any aspect that is affected by Army life.
  • AFF is independent of the Army and is often pivotal in achieving improvements for Army families such as changes to Government and military policy and changes to how things are provided for families. For more information visit aff.org.uk
  • AFF’s operates by four core values which are pivotal to our work. These are:

– AFF always puts families first

– AFF can be trusted

– AFF is bold and determined

– AFF is inclusive

RAF FF

  • The RAF Families Federation (RAF FF) is funded by the RAF but sits outside the Chain of Command as an independent organisation, charged with providing a voice for all serving RAF personnel and their families.
  • For more info, contact the RAF FF Communications Manager, Caroline Woodward at woodward@raf-ff.org.uk or visit the website at www.raf-ff.org.uk

NFF

  • The Naval Families Federation exists to speak up for Naval Service families. We represent their views and experiences to those who make the policies and decisions that affect them. We meet regularly with the Royal Navy’s Chain of Command, Government Ministers, Other Government Departments and other key stakeholders.  We also support appropriate and relevant research.
  • For more info, contact the NFF Communications & Marketing Manager, Frances McCreesh at Mccreesh@nff.org.uk or visit the website at www.nff.org.uk

Forces in Mind Trust

  • FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.  FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.
  • The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.
  • FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.
  • All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

 

Useful links

One month left to apply! Forces in Mind Trust’s Specialist Fellowship on Clore Social Leadership’s 2017 Fellowship Programme

The countdown has begun to the 5th September closing date for those interested in applying to the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) Specialist Fellowship on the Clore Social Leadership 2017 Fellowship programme.

The programme identifies, connects and develops individuals who have the ambition to lead social change in their communities, organisations and in the world around them, through a combination of activities including residential learning courses, executive coaching, a provocative writing piece and a secondment.

FiMT has already awarded two Specialist Fellowships on the programme, one in each of 2015 and 2016, and will sponsor a total of four Specialist Fellowships between 2015 and 2018 to help encourage deeper connections and shared learning between military charities and the wider social sector, which in turn will enable more innovative and collaborative service delivery.

Aspiring social leaders are now being invited to apply for the next one-year programme, which starts in January 2017. Applications opened on Monday 11th July 2016 and will close midday on Monday 5th September 2016.

The first FiMT Specialist Fellow, Dr Jane Rowley, completed a piece of research at the end of 2015 entitled ‘What more can we do to support ex-Services personnel? An investigation into Post Traumatic Growth and the Role of Expert Companions’.  Jane went on to implement this learning over a three-month secondment with the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA).

You can read Jane’s recent blog which reflects on her Fellowship now that she has returned to the work environment, having completed her Fellowship in March 2016: http://www.fim-trust.org/blog/reflections-fimts-specialist-fellow-clores-social-leadership-programme-2015/

FiMT’s 2016 Specialist Fellow, Dr Marie-Louise Sharp, is halfway through her Fellowship and plans to write a provocation piece on why research needs to be conducted into the treatment of Gulf War illness(es) to support UK veterans who may have been affected.  Read Marie-Louise’s latest blog here: http://www.cloresocialleadership.org.uk/Reflections-from-a-specialist-Fellow.

To make an application for the 2017 programme, or for further information, visit Clore Social Leadership’s website at http://www.cloresocialleadership.org.uk/Apply-now-for-2017.  

 

ENDS

 

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

  • FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations. FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.
  • The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.
  • FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.
  • All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub. A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

Useful links

 

About Clore Social Leadership

 Clore Social Leadership is committed to social change. We find and develop leaders with a social purpose so that they can transform their communities, organisations and the world around them. We offer a Fellowship Programme and a range of leadership development workshops.

For more information, please visit www.cloresocialleadership.org.uk and join the conversation on Twitter @CloreSocial.

Forces in Mind Trust awards funding for unique new profiling of serving and ex-officer community

A definitive demographic profile of the serving and ex-officer community in the UK has been commissioned to help understand the size, nature and needs of present and future officer communities.

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded £43,149 to the Officers’ Association, the charity supporting the welfare of those who have held a commission in HM Armed Services and their dependants. The six month study will be conducted by the Institute of Public Care at Oxford-Brookes University, and project managed by Mazia Yassim, Research Associate at the Officers’ Association.

This study seeks to create a definitive demographic profile of the serving and ex-officer community in the UK across all three branches of the Armed Forces, and will take into account several demographic variables, such as age and disability.  Specifically, the research will aim to:

  • identify the size and variables of the current officer community;
  • predict the size of the serving and ex-officer community for the next 20 years; and
  • explore the implications in terms of current and future needs.

It is expected that the findings from this research project will help all those involved in supporting the Armed Forces Community, including policy-makers and service deliverers, to better understand the needs of the officer communities in the UK now, as well as help to predict how these may change and develop in the future.

The project will use a number of techniques to build a picture of the officer community, including using data from the Ministry of Defence and other sources, holding focus groups with current and ex-serving officers, as well as interviews with service charities.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, says: “Improving our understanding of the profile of the current and ex-serving officer community is an important piece of work.  Without a proper knowledge of the size, composition and needs of the officers’ community, and a forecast of how that might change, we cannot understand how best to support them and their families in leading successful and fulfilled civilian lives.  This is an exciting and broad-ranging piece of independent and credible research, which we are very pleased to support.”

Lee Holloway, CEO of the Officers’ Association, said: “We are delighted to be involved in a study that will give us a better understanding of the demographics of officers who may need the support of the Officers’ Association and other organisations in the future. From employment services to benevolence, the OA offers a wide ranging level of support to former officers; the outcomes of this study will help us to plan how to provide our services most efficiently and effectively in the future, whilst also benefiting a wider community.”

ENDS

Media contact:

Kate Turner at The PR Office on kturner@theproffice.com / direct dial: 020 7284 6944

 

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

  • FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.  FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.
  • The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.
  • FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.
  • All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

Useful links