New Armed Forces Bill passed in Parliament

Published: Wed 22nd December, 2021

New legislation which will ensure Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families are better supported when accessing key public services has been passed in Parliament.

Charnwood Borough Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Hilary Fryer has welcomed the Armed Forces Bill which recently gained Royal Assent and is due to be implemented next year.

The Armed Forces Bill places the Armed Forces Covenant in law for the first time to help prevent service personnel and veterans being disadvantaged when accessing essential services like healthcare, education and housing. It will ensure councils pay regard to the sacrifice made by our Armed Forces Community.

The Armed Forces Covenant is a pledge by the nation to acknowledge and understand that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect. Groups, organisations, charities, local authorities, and businesses are encouraged to sign up to the covenant.

Cllr Hilary Fryer, the Council’s Armed Forces Champion said: “As a Council, we are committed to understanding the needs of serving and former members of HM Armed Forces and their families.

“We are proud to be part of the Armed Forces Covenant and it is important that we support those service men and women who have given so much to our country. The Armed Forces Bill will continue to strengthen our support provision for Armed Forces personnel and their families.”

The Council demonstrates its commitment to supporting the Armed Forces Community with a guaranteed interview scheme for veterans who apply for a job with the Council. Those who meet the essential criteria are guaranteed an interview. Reservists are also given 10 days additional paid leave to attend training. Staff members at the Council are able to undertake training to better understand and support the Armed Forces Community.

In recent years, the Council has worked with a number of parish and town Councils, community groups and businesses to help them improve their understanding of supporting the Armed Forces Community and assist them with signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant.

The borough council signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2013 and employs an Armed Forces community covenant development officer, in partnership with Melton and Rushcliffe borough councils to help develop and support the Armed Forces community.

In January 2020, Rushcliffe and Charnwood borough councils received a gold award from The Armed Forces Covenant Employer Scheme (ERS).  The Gold Award is the highest badge of honour for organisations which have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and demonstrated outstanding support for those who serve and have served.

For more information about the support available to Armed Forces personnel can be found on the Council’s website.