The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) established to help ex-Service men and women make a successful transition back to civilian life, has awarded a grant of £23,000 to the Institute for Local Governance working on behalf of a public sector and voluntary body partnership. The grant will fund a research project which will investigate the knowledge sharing processes and practices of organisations supporting the Armed Forces community.
The research will include a systematic examination of the current systems and practices of organisations within both the public and private sectors, which provide advice, guidance and support to the ex-Service community and their families. Research findings will include recommendations as to how services could be developed in terms of sharing and streamlining information.
This research follows a report by the North East Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the health needs of the ex-Service community. One of the recommendations which came out of the report was the need for information sharing between the various public sector and voluntary bodies which support the ex-Service community. The work to develop this recommendation into the project was undertaken by a small task group of local authorities, the Royal British Legion and 15 Brigade which was led by the Association of North East Councils (ANEC).
The development of better information sharing and associated working practices between the Armed Forces, public sector service agencies and the voluntary and community sector will lead to both a better use of increasingly limited public sector funds and, more importantly, more effective and targeted support services for the ex-Service community and their families.
Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, Ray Lock, said: “The findings of this research will enable the many statutory, charity and voluntary organisations that provide support services to the Armed Forces Community to share and refine the flow of information and so better shape future planning. We are very pleased to be working with the Institute for Local Governance on this regional project which will complement our other current and future projects across the UK, such as the Directory of Social Change’s online Guide to the Military Charity Sector, and Manchester Business School’s study of Integrated Support Networks. By providing a firm evidence base, Forces in Mind Trust is advocating how the military services charity sector can improve its performance, and I expect this project in the North East to help us blaze that trail.”
Chair of ANEC, Cllr Paul Watson said: “We welcome the decision of the Forces in Mind Trust to recognise the importance of this project and the work that has been undertaken in the North East to improve the support given to the ex-service men and women who return to the region. The outcomes from the research will enable local authorities and its partners in the armed services, the voluntary sector and other statutory service providers to improve the guidance and support we give to ex-service men and women and their families. We also hope that the lessons we learn and the changes that we will make will lead to a model of information sharing and new service delivery that others will be able to follow.”
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The Association of North East Councils is the representative body for local government in the North East. It encompasses the 12 local authorities in the North East, including Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and the Tees Valley, on issues of concern to them and the communities they serve. It is a cross-party organisation, with all of its Members democratically elected and accountable politicians. Further details on the work of the Association can be found at http://www.northeastcouncils.gov.uk/
The Institute for Local Governance, based at Durham University, is a research and knowledge exchange partnership comprising North East England’s five universities, local authorities, police and fire and rescue services and other key public sector agencies. Further information on the work of the Institute can be found at https://www.dur.ac.uk/ilg/