Armed Forces Covenant


01   What is the Armed Forces Covenant?

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation ensuring that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly.

It covers two key principles:

  • The Armed Forces community should face no disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to other citizens.
  • Special consideration should be given when required, such as to the injured or the bereaved.

All local authorities in mainland UK and over 4,000 companies have now signed the Covenant, including AFF in our capacity as an employer.

To see the list of companies, click here.

Watch an explanation of the Armed Forces Covenant in 60 seconds.

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02   Does the Covenant apply to me?

The Covenant applies to all members of the Armed Forces community, wherever you live.

It is interpreted in different ways locally depending on local needs, including in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, this means there is no standard delivery model, which can be frustrating as families’ experiences of the Covenant vary.

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03   What does the Armed Forces Covenant mean for Army families?

The Covenant provides support in a number of key areas for Army families including:

  • Housing
  • Education
  • Spouse employment
  • Health and social care
  • Money, and
  • Access to commercial products and services.

It also aims to help Reserves and Service leavers too, offering support with maintaining or changing your career.

For the most up-to-date changes that the Covenant has affected, read the Armed Forces Covenant and Veterans Annual Report 2021.

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04   How does AFF use the Armed Forces Covenant?

As part of our core work, AFF collects families’ issues. This evidence is used to open up discussions with policy makers in central and local government, and with private companies, about things that AFF believes should be changed.

We also work with Defence Relationship Management (DRM), the part of MOD responsible for recruiting corporate Covenant signatories and helping them live up to the commitments they have made.

Some examples of how AFF has used the Covenant as a lever for change are:

  • Changes to the Schools Admission Code in England to make it easier for mobile Army families to apply for school places.
  • An extension to the circumstances in which Service Family Accommodation may be retained.
  • The exemption of Army families from the three-month residence rule that applies to anyone wanting to apply for Job Seekers’ Allowance who has arrived in the UK for the first time or is returning after a period of being abroad.
  • The main mobile phone providers in the UK have amended their policies so that family members can now suspend their contract for up to two years while they are overseas.
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05   Who is involved in delivering the Armed Forces Covenant?

Although not a legal document, the Secretary of State for Defence is required by law to present an annual report on the Covenant to Parliament each year.

Other groups committed to the Covenant include:

  • Central and local government
  • The Armed Forces
  • Employers
  • Charities, and
  • Local communities
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06   I want to discuss a Covenant issue with AFF

Please visit the contact us page to contact the relevant specialist to help with your issue.

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