The Armed Forces Covenant is a pledge to acknowledge and understand the needs of the Armed Forces community and allows a more open and honest relationship between the Ministry of Defence, reservists and their employers.
The pledge recognises the transferrable skills built up during military service and training and ensures that members of the Armed Forces community are treated with fairness and respect in all aspects of their life.
Through signing the Armed Forces Covenant, NHS organisations can build their reputation as a forces-friendly employer by publicly advertising that members of the community will not be faced with discrimination during the recruitment process or within the workplace.
When signing the Armed Forces Covenant, your organisation demonstrates their public commitment to the Armed Forces community by agreeing to two core principles:
- no member of the Armed Forces community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen
- in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate, especially for the injured or bereaved.
The Covenant can be tailored to individual organisations, as employers are encouraged to offer support that is most appropriate to their situation and capacity. An organisation makes their own promises on how it will demonstrate support, selecting from different options including:
- employment support for service leavers, reservists, spouses and dependants
- support for cadet units
- recognising Armed Forces Day.
Signing the Covenant
Before signing, you can use the Armed Forces Covenant website to check to see if your organisation has already signed. If your organisation hasn’t signed, your next step would be to get in touch with your local Regional Employer Engagement Director (REED) through the Defence Relationship Management system to discuss the signing process further. After expressing interest, you will receive a pledge certificate by email that is ready to be printed off and signed.
Many organisations choose to hold a signing ceremony to show their public support of the Armed Forces community. By coordinating with REEDs and local military units, some organisations hold this ceremony in the presence of Armed Forces representatives, advertising their organisation as forces-friendly and generating positive PR through promotion on social media and locally within their communities.
After signing, organisations are encouraged to publicly display their certificate and communicate this internally to staff. Employers are now eligible to use the Armed Forces Covenant branding on their website to proudly display they have signed. Once you have signed the Covenant, you can nominate your organisation for an Employer Recognition Scheme award.
If you have any queries regarding what would be suitable for your organisation please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org