phrase "military covenant" refers to the contract
that is supposed to exist between servicemen and women and
the civilians on whose behalf they are willing to die.
is an informal understanding, rather than a legally-enforceable
deal, but it is nevertheless treated with great seriousness
within the services.
doctrine publication says:
will be called upon to make personal sacrifices including
the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the nation.
putting the needs of the nation and the army before their
own, they forgo some of the rights enjoyed by those outside
the armed forces. In return, British soldiers must always
be able to expect fair treatment, to be valued and respected
as individuals, and that they (and their families) will
be sustained and rewarded by commensurate terms and conditions
of service. This mutual obligation forms the military covenant
between the nation, the army and each individual solider;
an unbreakable common bond of identity, loyalty and responsibility
that has sustained the army and its soldiers throughout
historians point out that the notion that society owes a
special debt to soldiers goes back centuries. As an early
example of the covenant, they cite an act passed in 1593
ordering parishes to make special provision to help sick
and wounded veterans.
Sun's Jobs For Heroes campaign launched
to reports that there may be as many as 50,000 ex-Forces
personnel without jobs, the Sun newspaper has today launched
its "Jobs for Heroes" campaign.
aims of the campaign are to make UK companies more aware
of the value to them of employing ex-servicemen and women,
to get recruitment agencies, major UK companies and political
leaders working together to deliver jobs for veterans and
to bring all this wasted talent into worthwhile employment.
focus for this recruitment drive is recruitment consultants,
which specialises in getting jobs for Service leavers and
Forces Resettlement Services' Job Fair
high level of UK unemployment, coupled with the threatened
20% reduction in Service numbers, means that managing the
transition between military and civilian life may well be
a hot issue within the Armed Forces over the next few years.
this, the British Forces Resettlement Services (BFRS) is
going to be holding a "groundbreaking" job fair
and networking event for ex-forces people tomorrow, 4th
March, at the Garrison Sports Centre in Aldershot. The interactive
event will help past, present and future service leavers
as well as their job-seeking family members
access a range of support organisations and find meaningful
employment. For those not wishing to move directly into
full-time employment the event will also have organisations
presenting gap-year opportunities.
only will there be exhibits and free seminars and presentations
running throughout the day; the organisers are also throwing
in a free "curry supper".
at the fair will be BAE Systems, Boeing, The AA, BSM, Marstons,
Security Networking Events, Airbus, EADS, Rushmoor Borough
Council, Hampshire Police, Civvy Street and The British
keynote speech will be provided by Colonel Richard Kemp
CBE, former Royal Anglian, Commander of British Forces in
Afghanistan, best-selling novelist, Cabinet adviser and
Essex boy. The focus of his speech will be on the importance
of a positive CV. He says: "The CV is probably the
single most important element in finding a new job, and
far too often highly competent service people will miss
out on opportunities because their CV does not properly
reflect all that they can bring to an employer......In my
experience since leaving the Army, most former service people
tend to very much undersell themselves. It is really important
that they recognise the impressive range of skills and experience
they have acquired in their military service so that they
can market themselves to employers.
Job Fair at Aldershot will be the first of a series of similar
events which ex-military recruitment specialists Gemini
Forces will be hosting across the country over the coming
Royal British Legion has just launched a national awards
scheme to recognise people and organisations who give exceptional
support to the Armed Forces. The RBL asking the general
public to send in nominations for their new Friends of
the Armed Forces Awards and the winners will be chosen
by category - individual, community group, young person,
Harry, who kicked the scheme off, said: "These awards
an excellent idea, and I am very proud to be involved. I
know how important support from home can be. For those serving
in the British Armed Forces, the knowledge that others are
thinking of them has a hugely positive effect that cannot
for the Awards close on 14th April. With so many individuals
and groups now working to support our Armed Forces, the
RBL is going to have a difficult time in deciding the winners.
receive quality care but resources at their max [15/02/10]
Wednesday the National Audit Office published its report
on its investigation into "Treating injury and illness
arising on military operations".
main findings were:
treatment and rehabilitation of seriously wounded personnel
are highly effective and rated by the military.
high quality of care for the seriously injured is demonstrated
by the number of "unexpected survivors".
capacity at military hospitals in the UK and in Afghan
has been sufficient to deal with casualties to date but
it is close to its limit.
rates of disease and minor injury in Afghanistan have
almost doubled from 4% to 7%.
at risk of developing mental health conditions on operations
receive appropriate support but there are some weaknesses
in follow-up procedures.
figures published in the report:
October 2001 and October 2009, 522 UK military personnel
were seriously injured on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
2006 personnel on operations have attended medical facilities
125,000 times for minor injury and illness, with a further
1,700 times for mental health conditions.
6,900 people have been evacuated back to the UK from Iraq
and Afghanistan since 2003 for serious injuries and a
range of other medical conditions.
NAO has estimated the cost of medical care provided as
a result of military operations stood at £71 million
the treatment for the seriously wounded is both highly effective
and of a high quality is, as the head of the NAO himself
said, really good news. The worrying thing is that military
hospitals are now full.
The current surge strategy with its large-scale offensives
against the Taliban (of which Operation Moshtarak is the
first) is regretfully going to lead to higher casualties.
The situation is exacerbated by the intense pressure under
which UK troops are fighting. Figures released by the MoD
show that 46 per cent of all Army units are now in breach
of the "harmony guidelines" (leave between combat
tours) with the number of soldiers thought to have been
affected by the breach estimated at 10,000. The
problem of overstretch is further worsened by troop shortages
and soldiers who are unfit for front line duty. Virtually
every infantry regiment is under-strength by as much as
10 per cent or 70 soldiers and there are around 10,000,
servicemen and women who cannot serve in combat zones for
prognosis is not good for a medical service already running
What is even more worrying is that this comes at a time
when the Armed Forces budget is about to be hammered yet
again. The government cannot depend on Help For Heroes to
bail it out; perhaps the bankers could be encouraged to
donate some of their bonuses.
British Legion Schools Postcards to the Armed Forces [15/02/10]
in November last year, The Royal British Legion sent out
postcards to schools across the country so children could
be given the chance to write a special message to members
of the Armed Forces.
over 10,000 cards were sent to wounded heroes at Selly Oak
and Headley Court, Service personnel at different garrisons
and fighting units and veterans who are residents of Legion
care. Now the children of Shears Green Infants and Junior
school have put together a video to say thank you to all
of our brave troops and wish them well.
Be warned .its
very heart-warming stuff! One boy reads from his message:
This postcard is to make you feel happy and joyful,
and for you not to worry. Im sure it will do
been a bit of a Xenophon-ic day today. See "Afghan
Heroes' ask companies to 'Thank a Soldier'"
Ten Thousand ]
to host first Personnel Recovery Centre [15/02/10]
first of the new Personnel Recovery Centres for injured
servicemen and women is to be built at the Merville Barracks
in Colchester, Essex. The building costs of the centre will
be funded by Help for Heroes and it will be run jointly
by The Royal British Legion and the Army.
residents and 40 day visitors that the centre will accommodate
will benefit from a specialised treatment programme aimed
at getting them fit enough to return to active service or
alternatively preparing them for life outside the Armed
centre will also have two family rooms, each catering for
two adults and up to three children.
West, the Help for Heroes Volunteer County Co-ordinator
for Essex, said: I am overjoyed at hearing the announcement
that the Personnel Recovery Centre project has at last been
given the go-ahead. It will be just marvellous actually
to see the proof of the public's generosity taking shape
before our eyes in Colchester.
new centre will form part of the Army Recovery Capability
(ARC) scheme announced last week.
components of the ARC will be:
A Personnel Recovery Branch providing assurance, direction
and guidance from within the Armys 3* Personnel
and Support Command;
Personnel Recovery Units one in each of the 10 regional
Brigade areas as well as one in London and Germany, to
provide support and guidance;
Individual recovery plans tailored to meet a soldiers
specific recovery needs; and
Purpose-built Personnel Recovery Centres (like the one
marks a return to the time-honoured practice of treating
injured Service personnel in a solely military environment
and marks a U-turn in government policy which had up until
now been looking to cut costs by merging military and civilian
care within shared establishments and on mixed wards. As
the MoD admits: "Experience shows that injured personnel
find a military environment conducive to the best possible
recovery, so we will provide purpose-built Personnel Recovery
Centres around the UK".
Personnel Recovery Centres are likely to be based in Catterick,
Tidworth/Bulford and Edinburgh. The facilities and support
provided at the centres will also be open to personnel from
the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.
For Heroes and the Royal British Legion have each put in
£20million to the ARC scheme which will meet the bulk
of the costs. Without their funding and their principles
such a dedicated military care centre would not have got
off the ground.
is a long history of charitable organisations contributing
to the welfare of serving military personnel, veterans and
their families; this relationship will be strengthened further
through the introduction of the ARC, for the continued benefit
of Armed Forces personnel."
the Armed Forces Community: consultation results [12/02/10]
MoD has today published findings from the public consultation
it undertook last year into how best to provide consistent
and enduring support to the Armed Forces Community (AFC)
, i.e. serving personnel, their families and veterans.
The consultation sprang out of the 2008 Service Command
Paper which looked at ways in which the state's commitments
in the Nation's Covenant with the Armed Forces could be
repaired following years of neglect
the Armed Forces' commitment to the Covenant has never weakened!).
re-establish the Nation's responsibilities - and indirectly
to draw a veil over its own earlier failings - the government
is seeking to engage the wider civil community in its endeavours.
Local councils, the Third Sector (see *** below), the NHS,
the Police and charities & voluntary organisations are
all to play a role in supporting the AFC in future.
of the number of responses it elicited, the consultation
was not a success; indeed you could say that the response
was pretty shameful. Of the 468 local councils in the UK,
responses were received from just 16; only 3 government
departments responded; Service charities and federations
sent in 5 replies; 25 responses were received from the AFC
itself; and one came in from the business community (Right
Management UK). Not only that but "around a quarter
of respondents did not answer the consultation questionnaire
but took the opportunity to comment on wider Service Personnel
the findings of the consultation were summarised as:-
was marginal support for an Armed Forces Charter (a kind
of new Covenant);
problems would be resolved through increased awareness
of Service issues and improved communication between the
AFC and service providers;
AFC should not be singled out as a minority/disadvantaged
some reason local councils thought it was difficult to
identify the AFC;
the AFC thought legal obligations a good thing, local
councils, as you would expect, didn't agree saying that
additional resources would be needed to meet strict legal
unsurprisingly, councils came out strongly in favour of
local autonomy when it came to providing support to the
the 'single point of contact' approach for dealing with
AFC issues was not generally popular with respondents, the
government has already started to roll out its Armed
Forces Welfare Pathway project involving the establishment
of local service access points or "gateways".
Pilot Pathways have been launched in Kent, Hampshire and
MoD has also recently set up a National Point of Contact
super-helpline for directing calls from Service personnel
to the appropriate service-specific helpline.
with public consultations is that, more often than not,
they're an expensive waste of time, serving only to line
the pockets of the consultants themselves and providing
little in terms of tangible benefit. However, this particular
consultation exercise does seem genuine .... despite the
poor response. A coherent (I hesitate to say 'holistic')
approach for dealing with AFC issues is clearly required
and it's good to see some joined-up thinking for a change.
The Third Sector as described on the government's "Communities"
website: "The Government defines the third sector
as non-governmental organisations that are value driven
and which principally reinvest their surpluses to further
social, environmental or cultural objectives. It includes
voluntary and community organisations, charities, social
enterprises, cooperatives and mutuals. We also include housing
associations within the third sector. The
Government recognises the value of the diversity of organisations
in the sector providing voice for under represented groups,
in campaigning for change, in creating strong, active and
connected communities, in promoting enterprising solutions
to social and environmental challenges and in transforming
the design and delivery of public services."
well there you have it.
parcel is the message [10/02/10]
Recognition Study was designed to inspire the public
to show their support for our Armed Forces and to rebuild
the fractured links between the people and the military.
that aim the project has been very successful - thousands
turning out to welcome the guys home, approval ratings for
the military shooting up, public awareness raised and shoebox
collections taking place across the country.
successful outcome from the scheme (certainly not envisaged
by the originators of the Study) has been that increased
public awareness has brought greater pressure on the government
to correct its lamentable failings and to start providing
the troops with better equipment, care, housing, etc.
in one way the scheme has also been the victim of its own
success. The outflowing of public support for the guys on
the frontline manifested in the sending out of loads of
morale parcels led to bottlenecks in the Forces' postal
service over the Christmas period.
MoD is therefore now seeking to dampen down this sponaneous
public enthusiasm by institutionalising the whole thing.
Instead of an individual citizen collecting together a few
goodies to send out to a soldier in Afghanistan so that
they can show their personal support and appreciation, perhaps
also sending along a personal message to boost morale, the
MoD is asking that people should in future just send money
to its Operational Welfare Fund so that they can manage
and control the giving process.
sending a parcel is not really about "welfare";
supplying the guys with the right food, drink, washing kit,
etc is the Army's job. Sending out a parcel is about "connection"
- it's a direct, personal link between someone back home
with someone on the frontline. It can also serve to bond
a local regiment with its local community. I think the Beatles
had some lyrics along the lines of "what I say is meaningless,
but I say it just to reach you" or to paraphrase Marshall
McLuhan "the parcel is the message". Prince Harry
said: I can tell you first hand what a difference
[receiving a parcel] makes. Its not just whats
inside that counts, its also the knowledge people
are thinking of you back home.
things, the MoD is taking away the point of it all. They
need to come up with a better solution.
of Dragons' Den and The Apprentice have voiced their support
to a Royal British Legion website specialising in helping
members of the Armed Forces readjust to life on Civvy Street.
Dragons' Den Duncan Bannatyne and Lord Sugar's new right
hand woman on the Apprentice, Karren Brady, have appeared
in a new online video promoting resettlement website civvystreet.org.
Street is a website for serving and ex-Service personnel
and their families. It helps
a range of issues around resettlement including re-training,
employment opportunities and also help around CV building
and interview tips. As well as this practical help, in the
twelve months from 01 October 2008 Civvy Street had awarded
over £600,000 in training and employment grants.
Parkinson, Civvy Street Manager said 'At a time where the
resettlement of Service leavers is a key issue, it is great
that high profile figures such as Duncan Bannatyne and Karren
Brady have helped to highlight the services that Civvy Street
Groombridge, who served with his TA regiment in Afghanistan,
is just one of the many who has benefitted from Civvy Street's
help. He commented 'After returning from Afghanistan I was
having real problems finding work, I came across Civvy Street
online and with their help I've retrained as an IT engineer
and am doing a job love'.
also works in close collaboration with Poppyscotland, providing
resettlement support and training grants for ex-Servicemen
and women throughout Scotland
Armed Forces Community Welfare Pathway is the latest MoD
initiative aimed at helping serving personnel, their families
and veterans receive the advice and support they need to
meet a whole range of health, social and economic issues
and to ensure they have consistent, easy and direct access
to the services to which they are entitled.
Welfare Pathway provides a 'one-stop-shop' that brings together
the local council, community organisations, Citizen Advice
Bureaux, the NHS, Service charities, etc to deliver a complete
advice service that is tailored to the needs of the military
community - for example:
about access to NHS services;
about help for veterans with mental health problems;
and advice about education, skills and careers;
with affordable and social housing;
with transport, including Blue Badges and concessionary
about, and access to, affordable childcare.
Pathway is a step along the road outlined by Bod Ainsworth
in his proposal to introduce an Armed Forces Community
Charter. This charter would set out the individual and
specific rights of the Armed Forces community and the duty
placed on public bodies to fulfil them. It has been suggested
that such a charter could actually be made legally binding
on public bodies. It al;so fits in with the commitments
set out in the Service
Personnel Command Paper, 'The Nation's Commitment:
Cross-Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families
project was launched last November in Kent and has since
been rolled out in Hampshire and today in Wigan and it is
expected that local "Gateways" will soon be opening
up across the country.
A dedicated national helpline (08000 22 33 66) has also
been set up.
the tired nulabour jargon which surrounds it, this scheme
certainly has the promise of being able to cut through otherwise
daunting bureaucracy and bring speedy solutions to the people
who really deserve it.