Signing the Armed Forces Covenant

An overview of the Armed Forces Covenant, what it means to sign and the duty involved.

1 September 2020

The Armed Forces Covenant is a pledge to acknowledge and understand the needs of the Armed Forces community and aims to build a more open and honest relationship between employers, the Ministry of Defence and reservists.

The Armed Forces Covenant recognises the contribution and sacrifice that service personnel, reservists, veterans, cadet force adult volunteers and military families make. 

It enables your organisation to build its reputation as a forces-friendly employer through publicly asserting your commitment, ensuring that members of the Armed Forces community do not face discrimination during recruitment or in employment and are treated with fairness and respect in all aspects of their life. 


The organisation must agree to demonstrate two core principles:

  • Those who serve in the Armed Forces, whether regular or reserves, those who have served in the past, and their families, should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services. 
  • Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most, such as the injured and bereaved. 

The organisation must pledge it's support to the Armed Forces community. Examples include:

  • offering support to service leavers, veterans, reservists, cadet force adult volunteers, spouses and dependants within your organisation
  • celebrating national events, such as Armed Forces Day and Remembrance Sunday
  • supporting Armed Forces charities.

The Armed Forces Covenant Duty

The Armed Forces Covenant Duty places a legal obligation on certain public bodies to pay ‘due regard’ to the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant with the aim of increasing awareness of service life among organisations that provide services in healthcare, education and housing. 

Due regard means that in line with the Duty, organisations will need to consciously consider the unique responsibilities and sacrifices made by members of the Armed Forces community.

The Duty supports organisations to recognise and develop special provisions for certain key services that meet the needs of the Armed Forces community. 

The Armed Forces Covenant Duty applies to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has created statutory guidance to help organisations understand and meet the principles outlined in the Covenant Duty. The guidance includes examples of where disadvantage can arise, examples of good practice in service provision and other useful information.

Signing the Covenant

If you are interested in signing the Covenant, get in touch with your local Regional Employer Engagement Director (REED), who will assist you with the signing process. guide you through the signing process. Check whether your organisation has already signed the covenant on the Armed Forces Covenant website.

Many organisations choose to hold a signing ceremony to publicly demonstrate their commitment to support the Armed Forces Community and sign the document in the presence of Armed Forces representatives, such as the local REED and representatives from local military units.

After signing the Covenant, display your pledge certificate and include the Armed Forces Covenant logo on communications and job advertisements to further publicly demonstrate your commitment and make sure to share your pledges with your employees.