The Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2016 has been published by the MOD setting out the major achievement of the Covenant and highlights future commitments and remaining challenges.
Our vision is to ensure that there is a network of practical support, embedded right across central and local Government, businesses, charities, and society as a whole, to meet the unique needs of the Armed Forces community.
- Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon KCB, Secretary of State for Defence
This is the fifth annual Armed Forces Covenant Report since the Covenant’s underlying principles were embedded in law in 2011 and the report looks at the achievements of the Covenant in business and the community.
We take a look at some of the key findings, in particular focusing on the Covenant in business:
There are now more than 1,300 signatories to the Armed Forces Covenant, and that number continues to grow.
The report highlights a notable ‘shift in attitude amongst employers’. In particular, the MOD has noticed an increase in recognition by businesses of the benefits of employing high calibre people when they leave the Services or as Reservists. These benefits include both the soft skills that these individuals bring (including leadership, planning and team working) but also the tangible bottom line effect through reduced recruitment costs and business delivery.
Data from a recent study by the Federation of Small Businesses showed that two in three small businesses are keen to hire Service Leavers and half would actively consider employing a Reservist, with attitudes towards the employment of Reservists improving significantly since 2013.
The report highlights that companies are being more 'proactive in their support of Defence initiatives'. This is evident from several organisations coming forward to re-sign the Covenant in order to refresh and strengthen their pledges, including British Telecom and Pertemps. E.g. Pertemps are seeking to recruit 100 new Reservists each year as part of the Portfolio Employment Model (PEM).
Improving the way the MOD communicates about the Covenant has been a longstanding challenge, which is highlighted within the report and this lack of overall understanding of the Covenant has been explored in recent veteran employment reports. However, MOD’s recent internal survey results have shown a “moderate increase in overall awareness about the Covenant” - which is positive. The Royal British Legion are quoted within the report, stating “there is a real need to maintain this momentum in order that the Covenant is better understood, not just by those involved in delivering its principles within organisations, but the Armed Forces community itself.”
Brigadier (Retired) Andrew Jackson, Managing Director of SaluteMyJob, said: “This is the first report since the Community and Armed Forces Covenants were combined into a single Armed Forces Covenant. Perhaps as a consequence, the focus has shifted; away from employment of veterans (and reservists) and more towards commercial products and discounts. This is disappointing. We agree with the findings of recent research commenting on the gap between employers’ pledges and action, especially on veterans’ employment, and call for a renewed focus on better establishing the mutual benefits of the Armed Forces Covenant to both employers and Defence”.
To read the report in full, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/armed-forces-covenant-annual-report-2016#history