Our commitment and Covenant Duty

Herefordshire's Armed Forces Community

This video looks at the groups that make up the UK Armed Forces community living in Herefordshire.  It explains Herefordshire’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant and recognises the important contribution our Armed Forces make to the nation. Herefordshire has a proud association to the Armed Forces.  As well our Serving population, we have many veterans living in the county with family members.

The covenant

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, will be treated fairly.

The Armed Forces Covenant's three principles are:

  • The unique obligations of, and sacrifices made by, the armed forces
  • That it is desirable to remove disadvantages arising for Service people from membership, or former membership, of the armed forces
  • That special provision for Service people may be justified by the effects on such people of membership, or former membership, of the armed forces

The Covenant for Herefordshire was signed on 29 May 2012 by the Armed Forces community, Armed Forces charities and representatives from the public, private and community sectors. Brigadier Mark Banham, MBE, who was Commander 143 (West Midlands) Brigade, the late Councillor Olwyn Barnett, who was Herefordshire Council chairman, and Lady Darnley, the Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire, were among those who signed.

Who is involved?

Herefordshire Council is a member of the Herefordshire Armed Forces Covenant Partnership (HAFCP). This is a cross-sector partnership, which is responsible for implementing the Herefordshire Armed Forces Covenant Action Plan. It is chaired by Councillor Peter Stoddart, the appointed Armed Forces Champion. The partnership is proud of its close links to the Serving community, Reserves and the Cadet Forces in Herefordshire (Sea Cadets, Army Cadets, RAF Cadets), as well as West Midlands Reserve Forces & Cadets Association and military charities.

As well as facilitating the partnership, in July 2020 Herefordshire Council was awarded ERS Gold, under the MoD's Employer Recognition Scheme, as part of their ongoing commitment as an armed forces friendly employer.

The new Armed Forces Covenant Duty

The Covenant Duty is a legal obligation on certain public bodies to 'have due regard' to the principles of the Covenant, and requires conscious consideration of the needs of the Armed Forces community when accessing healthcare, housing and schools. The legislation was introduced as part of the Armed Forces Act 2021.

Who is the new Duty aiming to help?

The Duty is here to help a range of individuals in the Armed Forces community, which includes Service people (including Regulars and Reserves), veterans and members of their family.

How does the Duty work?

The Duty will raise awareness among organisations that provide services in healthcare, education, and housing of how military life can impact on the Armed Forces community, and in some instances disadvantages that can arise when members of that community seek to access key local services.

Organisations such as NHS trusts, local councils, schools and academies will need to ensure anyone from the Armed Forces community receives a fairer assessment when their cases are considered and that special provision may be justified in some circumstances, in particular those who have sacrificed the most, such as the bereaved and the injured.

What are we doing?

Herefordshire Council is working closely with local partners and statutory providers to ensure that no member of our local Armed Forces community faces disadvantage. We also facilitate Herefordshire's Armed Forces Covenant Partnership that works to consider the issues facing the local Armed Forces community and any support that is required to meet their needs.

Contact us

If you would like to know about the work of the HAFCP please contact us at hafc@herefordshire.gov.uk