The Covenant

Community Covenant
It is vital to reward and recognise what our Armed Forces do for us. 
This recognition extends not just to those in the Services but also their families and veterans, and especially the injured and the bereaved.

The first Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report was published on Thursday 6th December 2012. It explains what has been done since the interim report published in 2011, and what we plan to do to address the disadvantages that remain.

The Covenant sets out the relationship between the nation, the government and the Armed Forces. It recognises that the whole nation has a moral obligation to members of the Armed Forces and their families, and it establishes how they should expect to be treated. It exists to redress the disadvantages that the Armed Forces community faces in comparison to other citizens, and to recognise sacrifices made. In some cases this will require special consideration, especially for those who have given the most such as those who are injured and bereaved. Since the Armed Forces Covenant was published in May 2011, the government, partner charities and voluntary organisations have been very busy. We have delivered on a number of commitments, introduced the Community Covenant (with a £30m grant scheme to support it) and produced the first statutory annual report on our progress and on where disadvantages remain.

The principle behind the Covenant is that the Armed Forces Community should not face disadvantage because of its military experience. In some cases, such as the sick, injured or bereaved, this means giving special consideration to enable access to public or commercial services that civilians would not receive. The Covenant covers issues from housing and education to support after Service. It is crucial to the government that it, and the nation, recognises the unique and immense sacrifices the Armed Forces Community makes.

The Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2014

The Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2015

Find out more about the Armed Forces Covenant

What is a corporate covenant?
A corporate covenant is a written and publicised voluntary pledge from businesses and charitable organisations who wish to demonstrate their concrete support for the armed forces community.

How does the corporate covenant fit into the ‘covenant family’?
The corporate covenant has been designed to complement the armed forces covenant and sit alongside the community covenant. The armed forces covenant sets out the moral obligation of society towards members of the armed forces community and the community covenant provides a mechanism for local authorities and communities to express support for members of the armed forces community. The corporate covenant is designed to allow businesses and charitable organisations to express their support, and commit to ways in which they can provide that support.

Service in the Armed Forces is different from other occupations. Apart from the obvious uncertainties and dangers, service personnel relinquish some of their own civil liberties and put themselves in harm’s way to protect others.

The risk of death (occupational attributable mortality) for the Army overall is currently around one in 1000 per year, or about 150 times greater than for the general working population. Risk of serious injury (for example loss of limbs, eyes or other body parts) is substantially increased.

“The government promises to help and support people in the Armed Forces when they need it most. This is ‘the Military Covenant’, which is now to be enacted in law." The Nation’s Commitment: Cross-Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans Command 7424 July 2008 pg 13

What is the Community Covenant?

A Community Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local Armed Forces Community. It is intended to complement, at local level, the Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the moral obligation between the Nation, the Government and the Armed Forces.

The aim of the Community Covenant is to encourage local communities to support the Service community in their area and promote understanding and awareness amongst the public of issues affecting the Armed Forces Community.

It is supported by the Community Covenant Grant Scheme which has been established to financially support projects, at the local level, which strengthen the ties or the mutual understanding between members of the Armed Forces Community and the wider community in which they live. The Community Covenant is a local agreement between an individual or organisation with the Military for Defence on behalf of serving personnel, veterans and their families to show support in meeting the military covenant. There are covenants both for local authorities and separately with the NHS.

Armed Forces national requirements

The 2012/13 planning process for NHS South of England will deliver an Operating Plan. The Operating Plan, which is developed jointly with Clinical Commissioning Groups, is expected to meet the key challenges and delivery priorities in The Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2012/13, including :

The Military Covenant preserves the key principles of the Command Paper

  • No disadvantage
  • Manage their lives as effortlessly as anyone else
  • Continuity of public services
  • Proper Return for Sacrifice
  • Key areas for the NHS
  • Transition to NHS care (joint responsibility with Armed Forces)
  • Prosthetics
  • Mental health services
  • Find out more

    Framework for preparing the operating framework for NHS SofE for 2012/13 & South East Coast Armed Forces Forum 7th February 2011, Dave Rutter, Head - Military Health & Veterans Department of Health presentation

    Kent and Medway Community Covenant

    The Network brings stakeholders together from the Health Service and Statutory Providers, with Veterans, Serving Personnel, Charitable and Voluntary Sector, to develop and support this programme of work. The remit of the Kent & Medway Armed Forces Network Group is to provide:

  • A strategic networking and liaison group for Kent and Medway to work with provider organisations to improve health services for leaving service personnel and their families, families of serving military, reservists and veterans
  • Strategic overview and assessment of Military Health work programmes within the Kent and Medway Cluster to deliver requirements within the annual NHS Operating Framework and MOD partnership with NHS
  • To lead on specific areas of work across Kent and Medway:
    • To ensure implementation of the Ministry of Defence / NHS Transition Protocol through awareness raising and communication
    • To ensure the implementation of the Murrison Report to improve access to mental health services by veterans
    • To ensure equality of access for armed services personnel/veterans and their families (this may require commissioning a needs assessment by the cluster)
    • To ensure effective communication, collaboration with MoD / reservist / charitable bodies that are actively supporting this agenda in Kent and Medway, increase awareness, training and development of all partners within Kent and Medway.
  • To ensure Joint working with local authorities e.g. on social care, housing etc
  • Community Grant

    The aim of the Community Covenant Grant Scheme is to help fund local projects that work to create relationships or strengthen ties between members of the Armed Forces Community

    Who can apply?

    Any organisation that meets the criteria of the Covenant Grant Scheme. There are no limits to who can apply to the grant from Age Concern to a childcare provision - if they can demonstrate and meet the criteria then we want them to apply.

    Champions Training

    This would involve a day’s training to provide Cultural Awareness for those who have little previous experience of the Armed Forces and information sharing between organisations to examine and explore their services and the best routes for the Armed Forces community to gain access to them. Thus allowing for the development of an effective network to increase and reinforce the integration between communities. A resource pack has been developed that will be given to each of the participants to use when they return to their organisation. The aim is to train a group of approximately 40 Armed Forces Champions at the end of the day.


    An e-learning package has been developed in Kent and Medway to enable mental health staff and other interested parties to work with veterans and reservists. This package consists of 4 modules which include:

  • The Military Covenant
  • Military Mental Health
  • Military Culture
  • Accessing Military Health Records.
  • This has been adapted from the Sussex elearning and provides general access for learning. The next step is to develop further modules to aid other healthcare professionals, law enforcement, local authorities and county councils which will provide a quicker introduction for the Champions who change on a regular basis and will include wider range of topics.