Leicestershire County Council has affirmed its support for the armed forces community by re-signing the Armed Forces Covenant at a high-profile event to celebrate and promote the value of reserve forces to businesses.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a pledge signed by organisations across the UK, in which they promise to ensure that no member of the armed forces community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen - and that in some circumstances, special treatment may be appropriate, especially for those injured or bereaved.
The ongoing commitment to fair treatment and support for the armed forces community was underlined on Wednesday evening, when the council’s armed forces champion, Councillor Pam Posnett, and assistant chief executive, Tom Purnell, re-signed the Armed Forces Covenant, along with Lt-Col Charlie Field, commanding officer of the Royal Yeomanry.
Members of our armed forces community make a huge contribution both to Leicestershire County Council and wider society. We are pleased and proud to be able to reaffirm our commitment to ensuring they are treated fairly by re-signing the Armed Forces Covenant, which reflects the great debt we owe to them.
Person:Councillor Pam Posnett, Armed Forced Champion
Mr Purnell said: “Over the past few years, we have worked hard to improve our practices and procedures to support members of our armed forces community. We are committed to continue to grow this programme of work and look forward to lots of exciting projects with our veterans, reservists, cadets and forces families in the coming years.”
All current and former service personnel, their families, reservists and adult cadet volunteers are part of the armed forces community.
As one of the county’s biggest employers, the council is committed to supporting members of the armed forces community, as well as actively recruiting service leavers and embedding a ‘forces-friendly’ ethos across the workplace.
The council holds the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold award for its support and advocacy for the armed forces community.
The prestigious award recognises employers which support defence personnel and encourage others to do the same. It encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards for organisations which pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.
To achieve gold, the council had to demonstrate that it provides 12 extra paid days leave for Reservists and has supportive HR policies in place for all members of the armed forces community, which includes veterans, Reservists, Cadet Force adult volunteers and spouses and partners of those serving in the armed forces.
The Covenant re-signing took place at an event to celebrate and promote the value of reserve forces, which saw representatives from 17 Leicestershire-based businesses gather to network and hear from reserves about their experiences and how having reserves in the workforce can benefit organisations of all sizes.
Reservists from HMS Sherwood, 203 Squadron Royal Logistics Corps, the Royal Yeomanry and 3 Royal Anglian were in attendance alongside leaders from local businesses.
The event – the first of its kind to be held at County Hall – was hosted by the Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire Mike Kapur OBE, and organised by the East Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association.
Mr Kapur said: “I was delighted by the number of businesses represented at this event, which I am now hoping will happen annually. It was great that organisations were able to meet reservists and hear their own first-hand accounts of their experiences and the broad range of skills gained through their military training, which they can bring to their civilian jobs.
“Supporting reservists brings benefits to employers, the individuals concerned and wider society, and we would encourage businesses throughout Leicestershire to find out more about the benefits of employing reservists in their organisation.”