Anyone who serves, or has served, in the British armed forces will be treated fairly. That’s the basic promise of the Armed Forces Covenant – a promise that also extends to the families of current and serving personnel.
Here are three things about the Armed Forces Covenant that you might not be aware of:
1. The Covenant has two underlying principles
i. the armed forces community – i.e. military personnel, veterans and their families – shouldn’t face any disadvantage compared to other members of the public in accessing essential services;
ii. special consideration should be given to injured personnel and bereaved families.
2. It started life as the ‘Military Covenant’
The state’s obligation to the armed forces were set out in a British Army publication in 2000 entitled ‘Soldiering – the Military Covenant’.
During the 2000s, the term ‘Military Covenant’ cropped up in many parliamentary debates after heavy promotion by senior army officers. A decision was made by the UK Government not to enshrine the Covenant in law but to instead cover in an annual report how the Government is fulfilling their promise.
3. It was given a new identity in January 2016
The Armed Forces Covenant was rebranded earlier this month and was given a new logo. The rebrand is an effort to “give all the supporters a simple way to show what their commitments of support stand for”, according to Mark Lancaster, Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans.
You can read more about the Armed Forces Covenant here on gov.uk.
Sometimes we hear stories about former military personnel that seem to go against the underlying principles of the Armed Forces Covenant. For example, it was recently revealed that one in 10 homeless people are former armed forces personnel – a clear breach of a promise that the armed forces community “should have priority status in applying for government-sponsored affordable housing schemes".
Other stories include a discrepancy in the level of asbestos compensation that former soldiers are able to claim compared to civilians and reports of delays in accessing NHS mental health services.
The Covenant is there to ensure that our current and former military personnel are not at a disadvantage, and we as a nation must always ensure it is upheld.
Slater and Gordon have expert military accident lawyers who offer a free consultation to members of the British armed forces who have sustained an injury through no fault of their own in non-combat situations.
Call us anytime 24/7 on 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.