What is the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC)?

The Armed Forces Covenant sets out the relationship between the nation, the state 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 the sacrifices that they have made.

At the local level, ‘covenants’ are being signed across the country bringing military and civilian communities together.

The Covenant is about removing disadvantage so that you get fair treatment; the same outcome as the civilian community. For example, if you and your family are posted somewhere new, you shouldn’t struggle to get your child into a local school.

Central government has made sure that doesn’t happen by letting schools go over their maximum class size to fit in a service child. It’s not about getting special treatment that ordinary citizens wouldn’t receive, or getting a better result.

For those that have given the most, such as the injured and the bereaved, central government has established a scholarship fund for bereaved service children.

The AFC commits the county council to:

  • Recognise and remember the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces community
  • Nurture public understanding and awareness of the issues affecting the Armed Forces Community
  • Encourage activities which help to integrate the Armed Forces community into local life
  • Encourage the local community to support the Armed Forces community in their area
  • Work with voluntary and other groups to encourage serving and former members of the Armed Forces to take up any benefits and discounts they are entitled to
  • Encourage the Armed Forces community to help and support the wider community, whether through participation in events and joint projects, or other forms of engagement

There was a formal signing ceremony for the Covenant on 4 March 2013 when representatives of the Armed Forces, the county council, district and borough councils, the charitable and voluntary sector and the civilian community of Northampton added their signatures to the covenant in recognition of their commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.

The county council’s action plan

The 'Covenant action plan' is an appendix to the Covenant and it includes a range of objectives for partners providing services such as:

  • housing
  • health and wellbeing
  • education and training
  • access to council services and support
  • benefits and tax
  • recognition and assistance

A group consisting of the Armed Forces, the county council, borough and district councils, the charitable and voluntary sector and the civilian community meet on a quarterly basis to oversee that the actions in the plan are being implemented.

The action plan will form the basis of all planned activity and enables us and our partners to effectively monitor and evaluate its progress to ensure it reaches its covenant commitments.

The appropriate partner agency is responsible for ensuring their particular service objectives are met. Actions are regularly updated when they are completed and when new issues or actions are identified.

What does the covenant mean for you?

The MOD has published information aimed at veterans, serving personnel and their families outlining how the covenant can help them. The 2010 to 2015 government policy: armed forces covenant paper provides more detailed information on all issues relating to the AFC.

New AFC website

We are in the process of developing a new covenant website for the military community in Northamptonshire to use as a single access point for services in the county. Please bear with us while this is under construction. For any queries please email covenant@northamptonshire.gov.uk for more information.

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