Additions to the Legal Duty
The Act that created the Covenant Legal Duty gives the Secretary of State the power to extend, by regulations, the scope of the Duty to include additional organisations and functions. The Legal Duty will only be extended after a thorough evaluation of the evidence, and after consultation with affected organisations and other statutory stakeholders.
The ADD Process
An open and transparent evaluation process, known as the process for Assessing Developments to the Duty (the ADD process), has been developed with stakeholders to investigate the evidence as to whether new organisations and functions should be brought into scope of the Duty.
This process ensures that extending the Duty will happen only when there is potential for genuine improvement to Covenant consideration in decision making, and there are no alternative ways of addressing the issue. Therefore, the proposed addition to the Legal Duty will be assessed against the following essential criteria:
- it must pertain to an issue of disadvantage caused by the unique obligations of, and sacrifices made by, the Armed Forces, and/or where special provision may be justified by the effects on such people of membership, or former membership, of the Armed Forces, as set out in statute;
- there must be evidence to suggest that any issue is systemic, and not an isolated example of an existing policy not being adhered to; and
- the issue must be related to a lack of Covenant consideration, and would therefore be mitigated by inclusion in the Legal Duty.
An assessment of potential areas for inclusion will be made against the criteria, to enable the Secretary of State to make the final decision.
Outcomes from the ADD Process
The outcomes from all assessments into extending the Legal Duty will be published in the Covenant Annual Report and on this website.
A review into whether central departments of the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations should be brought into scope of the Legal Duty is being conducted through 2023, and a report will be provided in the 2023 Covenant Annual Report.