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SVC

Scottish Veterans Commissioner

About the role of Scottish Veterans Commissioner

Eric Fraser CBE, Scottish Veterans Commissioner visiting Thistle Foundation in EdinburghThe Commissioner was appointed by Keith Brown, the Cabinet Secretary with responsibility for veterans to take a fresh and direct look at the support provided to veterans and their families in Scotland.

The Commissioner provides impartial advice to the Scottish Government and other public sector organisations in the form of reports and recommendations designed to improve support for the ex-Service community in Scotland and promote veterans as valued and valuable members of our workplaces and communities.

It is important to stress that the Commissioner is operationally independent of the Scottish Government and is non-statutory.  His role is not about inspection, scrutiny or enforcement.  He is not an ombudsman or regulator and is not able to take forward individual cases.

Functions

The Functions of the Scottish Veterans Commissioner are to:

  • Review the support provided to veterans in Scotland, determine success (or not), find solutions and make recommendations to Ministers, local authorities and other public services
  • Provide leadership in changing negative perceptions of veterans in Scotland by seeking and promoting opportunities for veterans to demonstrate their skills, experience and resilience that they bring to our communities and workplaces
  • Promote a more focused and accessible information environment for veterans so that they can navigate the support landscape and access the services that they need
  • Matching the contribution made by our ex-service personnel by influencing the direction of Scottish Government and wider public sector policy in order to help strengthen the support offered nationally and locally

Principles

The overall strategic objective of the Commissioner is to improve outcomes for veterans in Scotland, by engaging with, listening to and acting on the experience of veterans, individually and collectively and to provide leadership on veterans' issues by helping public services in Scotland focus on the needs of those who have served in the Armed Forces.

The principles underpinning this office are:

  • Independence
  • Wide engagement, especially with veterans and representative bodies
  • Evidence-based approach
  • Focus on the long-term
  • Open-minded and innovative
  • Accessible to all

Background to the role

Over the past few years there has been increasing recognition across the UK for the need to acknowledge the contributions made by those who have served in the Regular and Reserve Forces. The Scottish Government has put a series of measures in place designed to ensure that veterans - especially those that have been injured or are in need of particular support - are never disadvantaged as a result of military service.

Since Our Commitments was published in 2012, the Scottish Government has made significant policy changes in order to ensure that services available to veterans and their families are a testament to the contributions they have made. As part of these changes, Scottish Ministers identified the need for a Commissioner who would take a broader view of the support provided to veterans and their families in Scotland, to assess what works (and doesn't) and to make recommendations in order to help improve outcomes for veterans and their families.

About Eric

HMS BoxerEric Fraser is a graduate of Edinburgh University who joined the Royal Navy in 1976 and then served in a wide range of appointments at sea and ashore during a 37-year career. As a junior officer in 1982 he saw service during the Falklands Conflict on board the minesweeper HMS FARNELLA, later commanding the Fishery Protection Vessel HMS GUERNSEY and the frigate HMS BOXER.

This latter role included periods operating in the Adriatic at the height of the Balkans War and a spell combating drug smuggling around the Caribbean. His subsequent appointments focussed on joint operations, including spells at the Permanent Joint HQ in Northwood where he led teams directing operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan and, later, had the responsibility of providing communications and IT support for all UK forces deployed overseas. He was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2009 as a result of this tour.

During his time in uniform he also served twice in the USA, his final job before retiring in January 2014 being the UK Naval Attaché in the British Embassy, Washington DC.