Agenda item

Armed Forces Covenant

Report by the Director of Children’s Services


37.1     The Director of Children’s Services introduced the report which highlighted the work undertaken by the Council, including its recent application for Gold Accreditation under the Defence Employment Recognition Scheme. 

37.2     The County Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Bowdler, stated that he was pleased, as a veteran, to champion this work. He noted the enthusiasm of ESCC officers and members, although he recognised that there was still work to do, especially in supporting families of Armed Forces personnel. He also noted the varying level of engagement across the District and Borough Councils (D&Bs) and that this engagement was a work in progress. The Armed Forces Champion reminded the Committee about the training on offer to officers and members and that he hoped to see a continuation of training and an increase in attendance.

37.3     The Committee welcomed the update and discussed the report. This covered:

·         Engagement with the Armed Forces Covenant in local areas – The Committee noted the large number of events which had taken place and questioned whether this had included the Rother area, given the large number of veterans in the area. The Committee heard that partnership work in that area was still in progress.


The Committee noted the good work taking place across the county but recognised there was still work to do. The Committee asked if there were areas showing good practice and what the council could do to learn from this. The Armed Forces Champion stated the importance of support from both members and officers in supporting engagement with D&Bs.


The Committee asked if there was more ESCC could do to support Parish and Town Councils, including working with champions in the local authorities, recognising that although they do not have a statutory role to play, many areas were very passionate about supporting this work. The work of local British Legions in identifying veterans that need support was also noted by the Committee. The Armed Forces Champion responded to say he would investigate increased collaboration with Parish and Town Councils and informed the Committee that there was good support available to veterans and families but that it needed to be communicated through champions and officers so that people were aware of the support available.

·         Families of Armed Forces personnel or veterans – The Committee welcomed the recognition of families in the Armed Forces Covenant, including the impact that moving on a regular basis had on children’s education. The Committee asked for further information on how schools supported children with parents or grandparents in the Armed Forces given the significant number of children affected in East Sussex. The department stated that schools did offer support to children and families and were sensitive to needs, and that capacity to increase support would need to be considered alongside other Children’s Services priorities.

·         South East Reserve Forces and Cadets – The Armed Forces Champion noted that there were local reserve forces that attended barracks in Brighton and Eastbourne as well as cadets across the county and advocated the role they play in supporting this work.

·         Employment support for veterans – The Committee enquired about any additional support given to veterans to apply for jobs within the Council. The department informed the committee that where an applicant meets the essential criteria, if they are a veteran, they are guaranteed an interview, but under employment law they do not receive any preferential treatment in the interview for appointment.

37.4     The Committee congratulated the department and the Armed Forces Champion on the work being done, including the application for the Gold Award, and noted the contribution of veterans, families and cadets to the community during remembrance services and events.

37.5     The Committee RESOLVED to note the report.

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