Armed Forces Covenant
The Armed Forces Covenant sets out the relationship between the nation, the state and the armed forces and it establishes how they should expect to be treated. We re-signed the Covenant on 23 June 2018.
What is the Covenant about?
The Covenant is about removing disadvantages so armed service personnel, past and present, get the same treatment and access to services as the civilian community. It is based on four themes:
- encouraging local communities to support their local armed forces community and vice versa
- promoting public understanding and awareness of issues that affect the armed forces community
- recognising the sacrifices made by the armed forces community
- encouraging activities which help integrate the armed forces community into local life.
We pledged our support in 2013 with a particular focus on respect and remembrance. You can find out more about the Covenant using the quick link above.
Supporting the armed forces community in Leicester
We work closely with partners locally to recognise the sacrifices made by the armed forces community. This includes leading events and city-wide participation in Armed Forces Day and the annual Remembrance Day service. Recent examples include events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the Battle of the Somme.
We also work closely with local units including the Royal Lancers Regiment and Royal Anglian Regiment who both have freedom of the city of Leicester.
The armed forces community we support includes current and former service personnel; families and dependents, reservists and veterans.
Below is a brief summary of the main areas of support offered through our council services:
Customer services staff are aware of our commitments under the Covenant so please indicate if you are a member of the armed forces community when you make contact with us.
Priority is given to armed forces personnel within our Housing Allocations Policy (Part 4.34) and persons leaving the armed forces will be considered under this priority, if they make an application for housing within 5 years of their discharge from the service and do not have a home to return to.
The Admissions Code to which we follow gives additional rights in relation to allocation of places to children of UK service personnel, and exceptions can be made to class sizes in infant education in exceptional circumstances.
The needs of veterans are acknowledged and taken account of in the Joint Specific Needs Assessment for Mental Health Services prepared with the Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group.
Hate crime and domestic violence
We have commissioned domestic and sexual violence support specifically for veterans, and are committed to combating hate crime in all its forms and always tailor our response to meet individual need.
Defence Discount scheme
The Defence Discount Service is the official Ministry of Defence discount service for serving armed forces, reserve forces, veterans, Ministry of Defence civil servants, cadet forces (over 16), spouses/partners (of currently serving personnel) and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) personnel serving in the UK. We've encouraged businesses to sign up to the Defence Discount scheme. Local businesses can sign up to the scheme by contacting Rewards for Forces on 01604 647770.
What is the Covenant Fund?
The Covenant Fund is a grant scheme backed by Government for projects that will benefit the armed forces and the community. The funding priorities for April 2018 to March 2019 include:
- Armed Forces Covenant: local grants and digital development
- Armistice and Armed Forces Communities: supporting local communities to consider the Armed Forces Covenant and its relevance today in the context of the World War 1 commemorations
Further priorities will be announced in the following months. Further information about the Covenant Fund is available at GOV.UK - Covenant Fund.
Approved veterans question in next Census
We support the approved veterans’ question by the government in the next census (2021). Former Armed Forces personnel will be able to identify themselves as veterans for the first time in the next census. The legislation passed on Monday the 13 July 2020.
The approved question will allow central and local government to better understand the needs of the Ex-Armed Forces community. With better data and understanding it will aid with more targeted support, efficient support and improved services.
The inclusion of the question in next year’s Census ties in with the councils Armed Forces Covenant’s objectives. With improved information and support from the government, the Armed Forces Covenant will be able to focus and tailor their services to support the Ex-Armed Forces community.
You can find more information on the passed census at GOV.UK - Census information.
For any enquiries about the Covenant please email us at AFCovenant@leicester.gov.uk.
Useful websites and local groups
There are also a range of other local and national services who may be able to help members of the armed forces community.