Following an extensive consultation process, we have put forward over 100 recommendations to the UK Government on how to implement the Strategy for our Veterans.
On 14 November 2018, the UK Government published the Strategy for our Veterans – a wide ranging UK Veterans Strategy setting out the principles and aims of support for the veteran community for the next ten years.
Alongside the Strategy, the national and devolved governments of the UK, Scotland and Wales consulted through to mid-February 2019 on how the aims and principles of the strategy can be implemented.
We have formed an organisational response to the consultation, drawing on existing research, UK-wide focus groups and an online survey of Royal British Legion members and supporters.
Veterans Strategy Response
Read our recommendations on how to implement the Strategy for our Veterans.
Our response to the UK Government explores the cross-cutting factors and key themes in detail. Where possible we have included recommendations for the Government on how support provision for veterans, and others in the community where they came within scope, could be practically and tangibly improved.
- Housing provision for divorced and separated partners
- Research into treatment for Gulf War illnesses
- A new veterans census question in 2021
- Compensation disregards from Social care means tests in Northern Ireland
- Transfer of clinical notes between Service and the NHS
- Local assessments of Social Isolation within Armed Forces communities
Additionally, we highlighted the following recommendations as priorities:
- The Ministry of Defence review Veterans UK processes for improvements, including the enhanced use of digital platforms, improved pension advice and their role in co-ordinating activity
- The Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government monitor, evaluate and enhance support for local authorities’ implementation of Covenant delivery infrastructure. The Government should also retain the option of giving legal force to the Covenant
- Introduce a standardised question that all public bodies ask to improve identification of members of the Armed Forces community, exploring the feasibility of a “tell me once” service
- The Ministry of Defence implement more robust and proactive communications strategies to respond to negative and inaccurate media stories on veterans, utilising a wider range of spokespeople from the Armed Forces community
- The Government commit to permanently funding the maintenance of the national Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum
- The Ministry of Defence and Defence Relationship Management provide an enhanced package of education and practical support to business covenant signatories, looking further than their role as employers
- Armed Forces compensation is routinely disregarded from all statutory means tests. Where possible, this should include War Widows’ Pensions
- The Home Office waive Indefinite Leave to Remain fees for Commonwealth Armed Forces Personnel and their dependents with immediate effect
- A multi-stakeholder working group is established to come to an agreed definition of Priority Treatment
- The Government publishes a five-year statement on progress against each of the recommendations in the Phillips review
Over the course of the consultation period, we undertook ten focus groups and involved members of the Armed Forces community, sector partners and RBL members.
Additionally, we encouraged members, supporters and those we help to respond to the consultation in an independent capacity through an online survey which mirrored the consultation documents and also directed them to the Ministry of Defence consultation website.
We were delighted to receive over 100 responses to the survey which fed into our response. Thank you to all those who took part in this important exercise.
Further details on all the our recommendations can be found in the Royal British Legion Veterans Strategy Response.
The UK Government consultation on The Strategy for Our Veterans closed on 21 February 2019.
It is expected that the Government will consider the submissions it has received in order to publish a response in early summer 2019.
We will continue to engage with the Government where we can to follow up on the recommendations provided.