Armed Forces Covenant

I am writing to request under the Freedom of Information Act how much progress has been made in implementing the Armed Forces Covenant at your local authority.

1. What is the LAs Armed Forces Covenant policy?

Following a task group report in 2011/12 we developed an action plan, report and policy. Since then in support of the Armed Forces Covenant we developed a bespoke Joint Strategic Needs Assessment in 2013/14 and have delivered a range of actions in support of this since. Devon County Council’s active support (alongside a wide range of local partners) continues, including the allocation of resources including Officer time to maintain the actions and approach required to deliver on the Armed Forces Covenant locally. We have worked with local regional partners to develop enhanced support, including web-based tools for service personnel, veterans and their families.

2. What expenditure and activity has the LA undertaken to meet your policy aims for the Armed Forces Covenant for the last 12 months?

We have held an annual Armed Forces Covenant conference in September 2017 (planned again in September 2018) for around 80 partners exploring a range of themes and areas of support and development for service personnel, veterans and their families. We are now in the process of renewing our strategy and action plan (due complete Sept 18). We engage with a wide partnership of agencies and organisations to discuss progress across Devon with the AFC. We have a close relationship with 6Rifles Regiment who form the main liaison between the Council, partnership and the Military bases that exist in the County. We are a partner in the South West Consortium of Local Authorities who are delivering an AFC funded project to improve delivery of the Covenant across the region. Through this project our frontline staff are shortly about to be offered specific training and awareness raising courses regards the needs of our Armed Forces communities.

The overall annual expenditure is around £40k in support of the AFC itself, excluding the contribution of partners and front line delivery of services and responses.

3. Has the LA appointed an Armed Forces Covenant Ambassador, and if so their names and contact details?

Yes. We have a portfolio holder whose remit includes the work of the Armed Forces Covenant in Devon, Councillor Roger Croad.