Appendix B: Outline of commitments pledged in the Command Paper 7424 "The Nation's Commitment: Cross Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans"
Areas of commitment
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme Review - the upfront lump sum payment for injury under the AFCD will be doubled for the most serious injuries, e.g., loss of limb. All recipients will receive and uplift of between 10 and 100% on upfront lump payments according to severity of injury.
- Improve information held by Government about how Veterans' health needs differ from the population generally.
- Identify whether more needs to be done to assess the healthcare needs of Veterans.
- Raise awareness among healthcare professionals about the needs of Veterans to ensure that those needs are met.
- Establish pilot schemes to provide community mental health services for Veterans in six locations across the UK in acknowledgement that mental health services do not always fully address the needs of Veterans.
- Pilots concentrate on improving Veterans' access to mental health services.
- Community Mental Health Services will be provided across the UK based on lessons learned from pilots.
- Meeting the needs of Veterans will be an important element in the selection of the next round of psychological therapies sites in England for 2009/10.
- Affordable homes: The Key Worker status will be extended to enable service leavers to access the Key Worker Living scheme 12 months after discharge. Scottish Ministers have agreed to extend access to their affordable housing schemes to Service leavers 12 months after discharge.
- Adapted social housing: In view of the fact that seriously injured service personnel can face delays in obtaining suitable adapted housing where they are not given sufficient priority, seriously injured personnel in England and Wales should be given "additional preference" (i.e., high priority for social housing) and statutory guidance will be issued accordingly. Scottish Ministers will remind landlords of existing high priority that seriously injured personnel in Scotland receive for adapted social housing.
- Adaptable affordable homes: Low cost initiative for First Time buyers in Scotland may also be eligible for a grant from the Local Authority to cover the cost of any necessary adaptations.
- Disabled Facilities Grant Means Test: AFCS and WPS payments for most seriously disabled will be disregarded in the means test for DFG in England and Wales. In Scotland this means test is being considered for discontinuation.
- Homelessness: The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) will contribute £400,000 to provide new supported housing for Service Leavers in England to enable them to make a successful transition to civilian life. Opportunities will be explored with Scottish Ministers and ex-Service charities on housing ventures to meet the accommodation needs of Veterans in Scotland.
Education and Skills
- Education and training for Service leavers: As those who join the Armed Forces often commit to this career path before they can take advantage of opportunities in further and higher education, all Service leavers with over 6 year's service will have the opportunity to achieve their first Level 3 qualification or progress to higher levels free from tuition fees. Scottish Ministers have agreed to put similar measures in place.
- Concessionary bus travel: By 1 April 2011, the statutory bus concession in England will be extended to include Service personnel and Veterans under the age of 60, who were seriously injured in service and who are resident in England. Scottish Ministers will consider by April 2009 how take forward this proposal as part of the three year review being conducted on the Scotland-wide Free Bus Scheme for Older and Disabled People.
- Blue Badge Scheme: In England and Scotland severely disabled Veterans will receive automatic entitlement to a Blue Badge without further assessment.
Support for Families
- Inquests: Explore with the British Legion and the War Widows Associations, how to make the inquest process as rapid and supportive to families as possible.
- Support to bereaved families: Review procedures to ensure that sufficient account is taken of the needs of the family.
- Seamless transfer onto benefits: The DWP will use the Service medical board evidence for those claiming Incapacity Benefit/ Employment and Service Allowance.
- Employment of Service leavers in the public sector: Develop with public sector employers access routes tailored to meet the needs of Service leavers. Scottish Ministers have agreed that their Administrations will support this commitment.
- Departmental co-operation: between Government departments and Devolved Administrations should ensure that policy is not made nor enacted upon without taking into account its impact on the Service community.
- Armed Forces Advocate: Each Department of State will appoint a senior Director as an "Armed Forces Advocate" to identify and resolve policy or legislative issues that may affect this sector of the population. Advocates will meet regularly with the MoD.
- Local co-operation: The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) has issued new statutory guidance to local authorities in England (Creating Strong, Safe and Prosperous Communities) encouraging them to consult their local Armed Forces. This ensures that Service needs are considered as part of local authority planning.
- Ensuring delivery: Progress will be assured by regular external and cross-Government audit.
- Keeping everybody informed:
- The consultation exercise conducted to inform the preparation of this paper revealed that a number of Service personnel, their families and Veterans did not know or understand what was available to them or how to get access to it.
- It was also evident that some Government departments and agencies were not communicating with them or each other as well as they should.
- Issue widely easily-accessible advice on what the commitments in this cross-Government strategy will mean for them on the ground.
- Publicise organisations from which advice can be sought.
- Provide straight forward guidance on where individuals should turn to for assistance and how to complain when local agencies or Departments are not delivering on any of the commitments in the strategy.
Email: Ewen Cameron