Si is one of the UK’s most experienced research organisations in exploring the experience of the  armed forces community in their interactions with local public services and in the delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant.

In Britain 6.2 million individuals are either former members of the armed forces themselves, or family members of veterans.   This is in addition to the nation’s 140,000 serving personnel and their families.  It has long been recognised that armed forces personnel and their families face disadvantage during and after their service in terms of housing, employment, health, schooling and education.

Local public services have a vital role to play in reducing these disadvantages, as do employers and businesses.  The Armed Forces Covenant represents a commitment by the nation and the UK government that those who serve or who have served, and their families, are treated fairly.  It acts to remove disadvantages that members of the armed forces community experience as a result of their service and covers; serving personnel and their families; ex-service personnel and their families; reservists and their families; and bereaved families.  Any organisation (public, private, or charitable) can pledge to deliver the Covenant.

We are currently undertaking research to inform improvements to the Armed Forces Covenant and are doing this in partnership with NatCen, in a project funded by the Forces in Mind Trust.  It will provide better understanding of the kinds of support Covenant signatories can offer, and whether factors such as geography, industry or organisation size affect how much impact organisations can have.  This research will also identify good practice in the delivery of Covenant pledges and provide recommendations on how other organisations could be encouraged to follow suit. We are also interested in understanding what prevents organisations from signing the Covenant and what could be done to change this.

From 2016 to 2017 we worked with the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and  the Local Government Association (LGA) on Our Community – Our Covenant a study of how Covenant Pledges could be improved.  We identified a ‘core infrastructure’ of the types of action taken by local authorities which were delivering the Covenant well. We also developed a typology of places, recognising that delivery of local Covenant pledges is likely to differ depending on the local presence of the AFC.  The final report from this work can be downloaded from the Forces in Mind Trust website.

(Si is a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant).