In response to the Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill publishing its Special Report [22 April], Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), who presented evidence to the Committee, said:
“We are pleased to see this comprehensive report holding the Government to account, following the evidence we presented to the Select Committee.
“New initiatives and pathways are welcomed, but we must now ensure these are implemented and the necessary resources provided to enable organisations to deliver on their obligations. We would also like to see an active role taken to improve understanding of the Armed Forces Covenant, not only in the organisations that are expected to deliver the Covenant, but within the wider Armed Forces Community.
“We welcome the proposals made and the Committee is right to urge the Government to respond to its conclusions and recommendations within two months, by written ministerial statement. It’s important that the next steps are evidence led, and we are pleased to see the recommendation of a 24-month review into how the duty to have ‘due regard’ works in practice and its impact on other areas of the Covenant. FiMT is in the process of commissioning a follow-on study, Our Community, Our Covenant 3, to examine the impact of the Covenant so far and to establish a pre-legislation benchmark. We hope it will be used to evaluate the impact of changes and so further reduce the disadvantage caused to the Armed Forces Community by their service.”