A message from Cdr Bill Lauste – Armed Forces Covenant Team
Good afternoon to all Covenant Champions!
I hope you are coping with lockdown as well as you can. Please see below some snippets for further dissemination.
Strengthening the Covenant in Legislation
Yesterday saw the Armed Forces Bill 2021 officially introduced to parliament for debate. This is legislation which has to be passed every 5 years to enable parliament to approve the continued existence of the Armed Forces! The Bill also presents an opportunity to include additional legislation related to the Armed Forces and it specifically mentions the Armed Forces Covenant.
The Covenant, in its current form, has been in operation for nearly ten years, during which time significant progress has been made to improve the lives of Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families. Since 2011, over 6,000 organisations and every local authority in Great Britain have made pledges to support the Armed Forces Community.
While good procedures and initiatives have been put in place by service providers, the Government is concerned that some members of the Armed Forces Community are still suffering disadvantage in accessing public services. This is often caused by a lack of awareness of the Covenant and the unique nature of service in the Armed Forces.
The legislation will impose a new Duty on relevant public bodies, when exercising certain aspects of their public functions in the areas of housing, healthcare and education to have due regard to the three principles of the AF Covenant:
o the unique obligations of, and sacrifices made by, the Armed Forces;
o the principle that it is desirable to remove disadvantages arising for service people from membership, or former membership, of the Armed Forces; and
o the principle that special provision for Service People may be justified by the effect on such people of membership, or former membership, of the Armed Forces.
This will mean that in the future service providers will have to demonstrate that they have considered the principles of the Covenant when making decisions in these key areas.
Further information on the proposed legislation is attached. Do contact the Covenant team if you have any questions.
Keeping financially fit
BFBS have broadcast a useful series of short pieces on Financial Awareness for Service Personnel covering the Pensions, Credit Unions and Car Purchase Financing. All the pieces are available here. Please share widely!
For families leaving the service
The Navy Families Federation have brought out a new version of their very informative guide for families who are leaving the service. The NFF Transition Guide provides lots of sound advice, signposting to organisations that can help, with sections on housing, finance, employment and education.
- A Service Person who was due to move from Hampshire to Staffordshire contacted the Covenant because his wife, a serving Police Officer was struggling to transfer Police forces. We used our regional Armed Forces Covenant contacts to engage with the relevant police forces and the transfer will now take place. The police forces are all Covenant Signatories.
- A Service Person currently based overseas was having trouble getting a mortgage due to his location. Direct engagement with the Building Society concerned resolved this.
A message from BFPO Mail Services
BFPO customers in EU locations are advised that mail which has been delayed over the past few weeks is starting to work its way through the system. Whilst, this is positive news, BFPO customers are further advised that this will take time to complete. BFPO anticipate that delays will endure for at least the next few weeks. Please be assured that we will continue to work tirelessly to find solutions.
BFPO customers should also understand that the BFPO Help Desk is currently receiving an extremely high volume of enquiries regarding delayed mail in EU locations. Whilst BFPO understand why customers are seeking information, at this time we ask customers, who are yet to receive mail due to the above delays, to please be patient and refrain from contacting us so all resources can be focussed on the task in hand.
As always, if you feel that you have been disadvantaged as a result of being in the Armed Forces, or have any queries about the Covenant, please email the Covenant team at firstname.lastname@example.org