Contact: Lynn Cain Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary or Personal Interests and Non Disclosable Pecuniary/Other Interests
Councillor Jim Blagden, Councillor David Walters and Gillian Welch all declared Non Disclosable Pecuniary/Other Interests in relation to their previous service within the Armed Forces.
that the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 22 September 2020, be received and approved as a correct record.
The Scrutiny Research Officer introduced the report and reminded the Panel that at the last meeting it had been agreed to commence work on an Armed Forces Welcome Pack. Contained in the report were some key sections and information that would be included in the Welcome Pack for Members to consider as required.
The report also highlighted case studies from Wrexham Borough Council and the City of York and some e-learning opportunities as developed by the Coventry, Solihull, and Warwickshire Armed Forces Covenant partnership in the form of two modules focused on the Armed Forces Covenant, Housing and Homelessness targeting particular audiences and needs.
The Service Manager, Scrutiny and Democratic Services welcomed the Council’s Senior Community Engagement Officer, Gillian Welch, to the meeting and advised that the work of the Panel would be building on all the previous work undertaken by Gillian, to form relationships with the local Armed Forces community and for the Council to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant.
Work had been undertaken to raise the profile of the Armed Forces Covenant amongst the Council’s employees which had included a previous questionnaire to establish any potential links with the Armed Forces through such employees and any serving relatives.
Discussions had been held at the last meeting with Mark Leek, the founder of the Kirkby in Ashfield Veterans Breakfast Club, to see how the Council might assist leavers, ex-servicemen and veterans as they adapt to civilian life. Caution was expressed however that expectations needed to be managed for both the Panel and ex-servicemen in relation to what could realistically be achieved by the Council and what value could be positively added to any transition into civilian life.
The Council’s financial budgets continued to be restrained and therefore any recommendations from the Panel to Cabinet would be better focussed on ensuring employees were well trained and able to offer knowledgeable support as required. It was also paramount that the Council continued to commit to good practice as developed by the Senior Community Engagement Officer and as recommended through the Armed Forces Covenant.
The Senior Community Engagement Officer took the opportunity to address the Panel and firstly explained the concept of the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) as a formal pledge to ensure that those who serve, or have served in the Armed Forces and their families, were treated fairly which involved government, local authorities, businesses and charities alike.
Organisations were asked to sign the AFC to confirm publicly that they recognised the value that serving personnel, Regular and Reservists, Veterans and military families contributed to our country. Ashfield District Council signed the AFC alongside all Nottinghamshire authorities in November 2018.
This then opened up an opportunity for the Council to apply for the Bronze Award (Intent) from the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) which was successfully awarded to the Council on 3 April 2019. Attendance by the Senior Community Engagement Officer at the ‘Bringing the Armed Forces to Life’ officer training on 4 April 2019, then led to the ... view the full minutes text for item SA.22