Tuesday 20th December 2022
The MOD has published The Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2022. On page 11 you can read our summary of how we at the RAFFF view the progress that has been made. There are some really positive changes that have happened this year for Serving personnel and families (Wraparound Childcare), but there is no escaping clear challenges impacting on personnel and families – particularly in accommodation and also partner employment for those overseas.
The Armed Forces Covenant and Veterans Annual Report, published by the Government (19 Dec 2022) and covering the period 2021-2022, details the key improvements and progress on the Covenant’s core goals. These goals include improving the lives of service people and their families, and the Government’s commitment to make the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran by 2028.
The Covenant is a pledge by those that sign to ensure that members of the Armed Forces community have the same access to government and commercial services and products as any other citizen; this year signatories include Leeds United F.C. and the Ocado Group.
This is the 11th Annual Report on the Armed Forces Covenant, since its introduction as a statutory requirement in the Armed Forces Act 2011, and is the second integrated report between the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) in the Cabinet Office. Since its inception the Covenant has gained nearly 10,000 signatures and to date every Local Authority in Great Britain has signed it.
Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, Dr Andrew Murrison, said:
The Annual Report shows the Covenant continuing to go from strength to strength. Partners across the UK have been working hard to support those who currently Serve, have Served and their families.
So it’s a big thank you to all those organisations who have worked tirelessly to use the Covenant and the nation’s commitment to veterans as a springboard to improve the lived experiences of our Armed Forces community.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Johnny Mercer said:
The Armed Forces Covenant is a key way in which organisations from across society can support our veterans.
We’ve seen good progress this year, in particular in the areas of healthcare, with the inclusion of veterans health in GP training.
I look forward to building on these successes in 2023.
Highlights from this year’s report include:
- Armed Forces Covenant signings are rapidly approaching 10,000, with 1,634 signings over the last 12 months.
- A £5 million Veterans’ Health Innovation Fund has been launched. This will support organisations looking to research and trial cutting-edge technology which could help veterans with complex healthcare needs.
- The inclusion of veterans’ health in the GP training curriculum and national GP licensing assessment in England and Scotland.
- The Office for Veterans’ Affairs published the Veterans’ Strategy Action Plan 2022-24, setting out over 60 commitments, with over £70 million of additional funding from across Government to further improve the lives of our veteran community.
- A further 528 GP surgeries have been accredited as ‘veteran-friendly’, taking the total to 1,578.
- The Government also fulfilled its 2019 manifesto commitment to ‘further incorporate the Armed Forces Covenant into law’.
Alongside this, the report celebrates the introduction of a new legal duty further reinforcing Defence’s unwavering commitment to its people. This duty places a legal obligation on specific public bodies to have due regard to the Covenant principles when delivering certain services, or deciding certain policies, in healthcare, education and housing, that could impact the Armed Forces Community.
The report also details how support has extended right across the UK with the first Veterans Commissioner for Wales being appointed, thus ensuring every nation has an independent voice-championing veteran.