Support for armed forces personnel - Armed forces annual report 2021

Summary of the work the council has done to support our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.

Introduction

I am delighted to present this annual report on Bassetlaw District Council’s work in supporting our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant. We have an estimated veteran population of about 2,000 within Bassetlaw. When you add in family, members this figure is easily double that.  Ever since signing the Covenant in 2012 we have provided updates through our committee process. This report is less formal in style and helps to show some of the real outcomes from our work and the fantastic commitment from many of our partner organisations

I took on the role of AFC in August 2019 and represent on the Nottinghamshire Civil and Military Partnership (CMPB) Board, which provides central co-ordination across Nottinghamshire with senior Military, Council, Health and other strategic partners. The Council has its own Covenant Team made up with employees with a military background. The ‘Support for Armed Forces’ booklet produced by the District Council continues to be very popular and is on its third edition.

Although Covid has continued to be an influence on some activities I was delighted that the Remembrance Sunday events were able t take place with excellent turnouts. I would like to thank all our partners, especially the Royal British Legion branches for supporting this.

I keep in contact with Veteran’s breakfast Clubs and regular contact and support for local veterans. There are growing challenges around the availability of suitable and affordable accommodation. There has been some success in working with a local landlord.

Councillor Tony Eaton BCA
Armed Forces Champion

What is the Armed Forces Covenant?

A promise from the nation ensuring that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly

The covenant’s twin underlying principles are that members of the armed forces community should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services; and that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most, such as the injured or the bereaved.

Veterans in Bassetlaw

2011 Census summary of data relating to Bassetlaw and surrounding areas

Working Age Veteran % of population

LA Area

Working age population

Working age (16-64) veteran numbers

 % of  WA population

Ashfield

76400

1996

3%

Bassetlaw

71761

2029

3%

Broxtowe

70840

1662

2%

Gedling

72170

1531

2%

Mansfield

67502

1964

3%

Newark & Sherwood

72172

2007

3%

Rushcliffe

70128

1326

2%

West Lyndsey

55124

2149

4%

Bolsover

48404

1330

3%

Chesterfield

66304

1607

2%

Nottingham

214552

3090

1%

Sheffield

366316

5184

1%

Doncaster

193768

5955

3%

Rotherham

163176

3694

2%

ENGLAND

745765

14915

2%

Bassetlaw Working age Veterans by age group

 

Age range

No. in BDC area

16-24

55

25-29

105

30-34

100

35-39

190

40-44

330

45-49

360

50-54

360

55-59

295

60-64

235

The highest numbers are in the over 40s groups. These groups if leaving the service over 20 years ago would not have had any support to integrate back into civvy street and therefore would need additional support to navigate housing, finances, forms, employment and training than those who left in the last 10 years who now have more support since Iraq/Afghanistan (Ops Telik/ Herrick)etc. Even this support is often limited to 6 months and is a postcode lottery for services, heavily dependent on charities.

  • 16% of vets in Bassetlaw have no academic qualifications (325)
  • 21% report their health to be Fair to very bad (national average is 17%)
  • 19% have limited activity due to disability
  • 22% are in rented accommodation

Challenges faced by veterans

What does Bassetlaw District Council do for the forces and veterans?

The Action Plan at Appendix A details our actions in supporting local veterans, our support for current armed forces employees and reservists, our role in supporting the Armed Forces Covenant and in commemoration of those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same. The scheme encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.

The ERS is designed primarily to recognise private sector support although public sector organisations such as the emergency services, local authorities, NHS trusts and executive agencies are also eligible to join the ERS scheme.

Bassetlaw District Council is proud to be a Silver Award holder.

Armed forces silver award

Silver award holders must:

  • have signed the Armed Forces Covenant
  • have already stated their intent to be supportive by using the ERS website to register at the Bronze level
  • proactively demonstrate that service personnel/armed forces community are not unfairly disadvantaged as part of their recruiting and selection processes
  • employ at least one individual from the armed forces community category that the nomination emphasises, for example,
    • an employer nominated for support to the Reserves must employ at least one Reservist

* actively ensure that their workforce is aware of their positive policies towards defence people and their issues. For example, an employer nominated for support to the Reserves must have an internally publicised and positive HR policy on Reserves

  • must within the context of Reserves, have demonstrated support to mobilisations or have a framework in place. They must also demonstrate support to training, by providing at least 5 days’ additional unpaid/paid leave (wherever possible not to Reservist employees’ financial disadvantage)
  • not have been the subject of any negative PR or media activity
  • time off for reservist Veterans and reservists of the armed forces

Employment - Our pledge

As an employer, we advertise jobs through the Career Transition Partnership. Jobs are placed on the Council’s website.

Our pledge of support for reservist employees:

  • Up to 2 weeks paid leave each year to attend military training camp (pro rata for part time staff)
  • a flexible working policy to assist with military commitments
  • management support in preparation for, during and after mobilisation
  • access to an Occupational Health service
  • access to an employee support line, a confidential counselling service
  • eligibility for sickness absence pay in line with terms and conditions
  • eligibility for maternity, paternity and adoption leave in line with terms and conditions
  • death in service scheme (only applicable if in the pension scheme)
  • the District Council will encourage the reservist to keep in contact at a social level with friends and colleagues from their workplace during periods of mobilisation.

Employing a Reservist

Bassetlaw District Council is an identified priority area and the Council will be providing community leadership in supporting the Armed Forces with their recruitment campaign. We would encourage businesses to pledge their support for employing reservists. An outline of the pledges you could make and for assistance in becoming a reservist employer can be found on the Government webpage Employing a Reservist.

Housing

The removal of the need for a local connection when applying for Council Housing.

Support - if you want to find out:

  • How to apply for housing from the Council
  • What to do if you are homeless
  • How to apply for grants to improve your home
  • Details of local housing associations
  • How to apply for help with rent or Council Tax support
  • Information about affordable housing schemes in your area

Financial advice and assistance

  • Darrell, one of our money advisors is specially trained to support the armed forces community and their families.
  • War Widows Pension, Armed Forces Independence Payment and War Disability Pension does not count as income when applying for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.
  • The money advisors of the Council can also help with accessing other support services for you, such as housing advice, help with debts, drug or alcohol dependency and homelessness.
  • You can email customer.services@bassetlaw.gov.uk or call them direct on 01909 533 744.

Outcomes from our work 2021

Promoting the covenant

Bassetlaw District Council has encouraged the Parish Councils to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant. During 2021 the following had signed:

  • West Stockwith
  • Rampton and Woodbeck
  • Carlton in Lindrick
  • Hodsock 

Links with health services 

Prior to lockdown the Armed Forces Champion had been able to give a talk to staff at the Larwood Health Centre. At the end of 2021 he was able to do the same with the Newgate Surgery. It is recognised that is essential that health centres , hospitals, NHS and CCG staff know how to deal with veterans at the point of contact so they can help, support and signpost them. The Bassetlaw Armed Forces Covenant Team have seen a big increase in veterans with Mental Health needs over the last 8 months in Bassetlaw therefore these links and awareness are a critical part of the support response.

Employment and employer links

Recruiting Talent in Bassetlaw Event for Employers

The event was held at the Ye Olde Bell Hotel at Barnby Moor on Wednesday 25 September 2021. The opportunity was taken promote the  Careers Transition Partnership to make local employers aware of the benefits of employing veterans.

Bassetlaw Heroes Welcome

Bassetlaw District Council supports ‘Heroes Welcome’, an initiative that is encouraging a public show of support for current and former Armed Forces personnel and their families.

Whilst Heroes Welcome is not a charity or a discount scheme, it does provide a free and simple method for businesses, be it a service provider, café, pub, shop, restaurant, hotel, or taxi, to show a little special appreciation to those serving in the Armed Forces and to do it in a way that is effective and appropriate.

Employer Recognition Scheme

The Armed Forces Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) is a national scheme encouraging employers to support our armed forces personnel and inspire others to do the same. Bassetlaw District Council is proud to hold the Silver award for its commitment to supporting serving and former armed forces personnel and their families. The requirements for the Gold award are wider reaching and significant work would be involved to secure this. The Council is working towards this.

Census 2021

‘Count Them In’

The Covenant Team promoted this campaign.

After a long campaign by The Royal British Legion, it was announced that the content of the 2021 Census in England and Wales, which will for the first time include a question on previous service in HM Armed Forces.

There are an estimated 2.4m veterans living in Great Britain, who make up part of a  wider ex-Service community that includes spouses, partners, dependent children and widow(er)s. Taken together, it estimated that the Armed Forces community makes up approximately one in ten of the UK’s general population. Yet despite this, comparatively little is known about the exact numbers, location and needs of this significant group because of limited official data.

The decision to include a new Armed Forces question on the 2021 census will provide public bodies, local authorities and charities with considerable insight into this relatively hidden community and, most importantly, enable comparisons of their outcomes with the wider population. From NHS planning for veteran specific care pathways, to helping local authorities identify and meet veterans’ housing needs – the new census question will ensure that, as a nation, we are better equipped to deliver the best services possible for our Armed Forces community, and target our resources more effectively.

Case studies

Case 1

A Left the Army 2 years ago and had served for 13 years. Diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and Depression and on medication. Separated for two years, awaiting divorce, 3 kids- two with his ex and another with another person, he pays child support. He works full time. Renting private property but it was riddled with damp.

A was supported in finding alternative accommodation and furniture. There were problems affording heating. The Council made a referral on his behalf to the Notts Energy Partnership for assistance from the Covid Winter Grant Scheme. There was a delay due to the demand on that service so the Armed Forces Champion contacted SAFA and was able to get funds put on to his fuel card and get the heating on.

Case 2

B 50 years old. Ex Reserve forces. Divorced with children. In full time employment. Staying in B&B for a couple of nights paid for by his boss then sofa surfing at friends.

Armed Forces Champion assisted him by identifying suitable rented accommodation with a landlord keen to rent to veterans/reservists.

Action plan

View our Bassetlaw Armed Forces Covenant Action Plan 2019-2023.

 

 


Last Updated on Wednesday, April 6, 2022