A collection of resources to help local authorities support the armed forces. It includes examples of best practice websites and links to relevant organisations.
Veterans and Families’ Directory of Services (VFDS)
An easy-to-use application to help organisations and front-line staff that work with and support Veterans and military families has been launched by Northumbria University, working with the Ministry of Defence.
The Veterans and Families Directory of Services (VFDS) helps the user to locate services that are available in their area. These have been grouped into categories such as Education and Training, Employment, Finances, etc.
This invaluable resource also provides an option to feedback about the services being offered at a location, plus a button that takes the user directly to the self-help page of the Veterans’ Gateway.
Local authority guide
A new guide for practitioners in local authorities has been published by the Armed Forces Covenant team at the Ministry of Defence. As part of their work to take forward the recommendations of the Our community – our covenant report, they consulted closely with covenant stakeholders to put together a guide to the Armed Forces Covenant. The local authority guide provides an overview of what the covenant is and how it can be delivered within the local community. A Welsh language version is available. It is aimed specifically at local authorities and their partners.
As public services are delivered differently in each of the UK home nations, detailed guidance has been prepared for each and can be found by the following the links listed below.
Best practice local authority websites
Here is a list of local authority websites that provide helpful information for their users Sandwell Metropolitan Borough: easy to read advice and support guides specific to the armed forces community on several different topics including housing, education, leisure discounts and jobs/training/volunteering Hampshire County Council: detailed guide on access to support services Surrey County Council: directory page for armed forces members settling in Surrey Oxfordshire County Council has produced a helpful leaflet that shows relevant organisations for the armed forces community in an easy-to-read format Additionally, the Covenant in Action section has many examples of the type of projects that local authorities can get involved with. This includes the ‘Crofton Cabin’ for forces children in Fareham, where children receive support and are able to contact their parents on deployment.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority have produced a useful Guide to Armed Forces Covenant delivery across the region.
Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award winning Liverpool City Council has set up a ‘Making it happen’ group to oversee the local delivery of the covenant and ensure that the welfare needs of service personnel, veterans and their families living in the city are captured. They have also created a dedicated website for people leaving the armed forces and settling in Liverpool.
Employer Recognition Scheme
Signing the Employer Recognition Scheme: Local authorities can receive Ministry of Defence acknowledgement for the work they do supporting the armed forces community. Click the link to find out about the scheme and on signing a pledge for the Armed Forces Covenant. The scheme acknowledges employers who have provided exceptional support to the armed forces community and defence by going above and beyond their covenant pledges. Through a 3 tier approach of bronze, silver and gold awards, the scheme recognises the different levels of commitment provided by employers. This allows the Ministry of Defence to publicly thank and honour those organisation for their support. You can nominate yourself for a bronze award. Silver and gold awards are bestowed to organisations meeting specific criteria. You can join the ERS LinkedIn group for the latest ERS news and connect with other supportive employers.
Some of the charities and organisations that support the armed forces are listed below. These charities can give advice and support to serving personnel, their families, and veterans. The Army Families Federation: independent voice of army families The Confederation of Service Charities (Cobseo): a single point of contact for interactions with all levels of government, the Royal Household, the private sector and the armed forces community Hive (Forces Welfare): an information network for all members of the service community Moneyforce: The home of money advice for service people The Naval Families Federation: speaking up for naval service families The RAF Families Federation: provides RAF personnel and their families with support, assistance and an independent voice The Royal British Legion: lifelong support for the Armed Forces community: serving men, women, veterans, and their families SSAFA (The Armed Forces Charity): the UK’s oldest national tri-service military charity Veterans UK: administers the armed forces pension schemes and compensation payments for those injured or bereaved through service. Also provides welfare support for veterans of any age, and their families The War Widows Association: charity that works to improve the conditions of War Widows and their dependents in Great Britain
The Citizens Advice Bureau provides information for service personnel in or leaving the armed forces They have advice on:
- Benefits and entitlements
- Armed Forces Pensions
Healthcare resources are different in each part of the UK: England: NHS Choices Northern Ireland: Health and Social Care NI/ Scotland: – NHS Scotland and Scottish Government Armed Forces and Veterans Healthcare. Wales: NHS Direct Wales and Veterans’ NHS Wales Veterans Wales The NHS choices, Armed Forces Community healthcare website has lots of useful links on healthcare for the armed forces community Understanding Military Culture: York St John University published a report on for staff in local authorities and medical services who have dealings with serving and veteran personnel The Local Government Association has written a report for local authorities and healthcare professionals on meeting the public health needs of the armed forces.
Some useful links on housing for the armed forces community: Forces Help to Buy: a scheme to help armed forces personnel get on the property ladder How to Rent Guide: a checklist for renting in England Renting a Safe Home: a guide for private rented sector tenants Model Tenancy Agreement: a sample agreement for a shorthold assured tenancy in the private rented sector
The Defence Discount Service offers online and high street discounts to members of the defence community. Businesses and local authorities can sign up for free and offer a discount for the armed forces community.
Armed Forces Covenant for Communities
Gov.uk: a guide outlining the aims of the covenant for communities. It also includes regional information on covenants signed by communities and examples of what local communities have done to deliver the covenant.