Today (26th January) new legislation was introduced in the House of Commons with the aim of enshrining the Armed Forces Covenant in law. The Armed Forces Bill focuses on healthcare, housing and education, and aims to ensure people within the Armed Forces Community are not disadvantaged by their service. This is a significant development for the Covenant.
In 2016, Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) published the second Our Community, Our Covenant report with the Local Government Association, examining how local authorities were delivering pledges under the Covenant and outlining good practice. The report included a self-assessment toolkit, to help local authorities to think about their local Armed Forces Community and to support them in implementing the pledges of the Covenant.
FiMT is currently in the process of commissioning the third stage of Our Community, Our Covenant, examining the impact of the Covenant in reducing disadvantage for the Armed Forces Community across the UK, which will include consideration of the impact of Covid-19 on both the Forces community and public sector organizations.
Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of FiMT, said:
“The Armed Forces Covenant has been a key means of ensuring that those who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are not disadvantaged because of their service. The introduction of this legislation is a key milestone in the life of the Covenant, and we hope that by putting it on a statutory footing, it will continue to drive the improvements in delivery of the Covenant pledges.
“In the meantime, we know that public authorities are working under immense pressure to ensure that the Armed Forces Community is well supported. It will inevitably take time for the Armed Forces Bill published today to reach the statute books, and we continue to recommend Our Community, Our Covenant and its toolkit as an essential means of understanding how the pledges in the Covenant can best be implemented to support all current and ex-Service personnel and their families.”