The Strategy for Our Veterans
Background and Refresh
The cross-UK Strategy for our Veterans, launched in 2018, acknowledged the importance of supporting and empowering those who have served in our Armed Forces. Veterans and their families offer society a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience and it is important that this is recognised, they are supported where necessary, and that they do not suffer any disadvantage as a result of their Service.
By committing to this Strategy, the Scottish Government pledged to achieve a shared vision, principles, and the best possible outcomes for our veterans and their families in the future. In January 2020 the Scottish Government published its original action plan for taking the Strategy forward in Scotland. This was informed by an extensive consultation with stakeholders across the community and tailored to the needs of our veterans and their families and the distinctive mechanisms for delivery in Scotland. It made a number of commitments across all of the Strategy's cross-cutting factors and key themes. A summary of the key themes, cross-cutting factors and 10-year outcomes are shown below.
During our original consultation, we emphasised the message that, first and foremost, veterans are assets to our society, and the small proportion who find the transition to civilian life more challenging are owed the right support to ensure that they too are able to realise their potential and live full and successful lives after Service.
Our original action plan built on the excellent work being done by organisations across the public, private and charitable sectors to support and empower veterans and their families. It recognised that the needs of our veterans and their families were changing, both in terms of the reducing numbers and also with regard to the types of support that help them to integrate successfully into civilian society. The issues faced by veterans and their families can be multiple and complex, emphasising the importance of effective collaboration and co-ordination across organisations and stakeholders that support them. Our 2020 action plan set out how we intended to respond to these changes, across all of the services that impact on the lives of veterans and families of the Armed Forces community in Scotland.
Scotland's original plan was deliberately designed to be long-term in nature. It made a series of commitments to deliver the vision and principles of the Strategy out to 2028, ten years after it was first published. However, recognising the impact that the Covid pandemic, in particular, has had on all aspects of daily life, we believed that there was an opportunity to review our commitments to determine: those we believe have been delivered; the extent to which the original set remained valid; where there may be an opportunity to add more detail, and; if there were any new commitments we could add. A consultation on the scale carried out in support of our original action plan was not conducted. Rather, we undertook a light-touch examination whereby we reviewed each of our commitments with policy areas across the Scottish Government, developed a refreshed set and offered key stakeholders the opportunity to review these draft proposals and contribute their views. The external stakeholders offered the opportunity to comment are shown in Annex A. As we expected, many of our original commitments remained broadly extant although some have been updated or reworded and a small number of new commitments have been added. Those which we now consider to be complete are shown in Annex B.
Cross-Cutting Factors and Key Themes
This Strategy has a 10-year scope. Through the 10-year timescale, the Strategy addresses the immediate needs of older veterans as well as setting the right conditions for society to empower – and support – the newer generation. Initiatives and proposals will work towards an enduring Vision articulated by three key principles.
Those who have served in the UK Armed Forces, and their families, transition smoothly back into civilian life and contribute fully to a society that understands and values what they have done and what they have to offer.
The Principles articulate in greater detail the strategic objectives of the Vision.
- Veterans are first and foremost civilians and continue to be of benefit to wider society.
- Veterans are encouraged and enabled to maximise their potential as civilians.
- Veterans are able to access support that meets their needs when necessary, through public and voluntary sectors.
These Principles encompass Regular and Reservist veterans and where appropriate, their families and the bereaved. The focus is on those veterans of the UK Armed Forces resident in the UK. In due course, we will consider encompassing veterans who return to or choose to live overseas. These Principles are consistent with, and underpinned by, the Armed Forces Covenant.
that affect service provision for veterans across all Key Themes.
that emerged as affecting veterans' lives.
- Community and Relationships
- Employment, Education and Skills
- Finance and Debt
- Health and Wellbeing
- Making a Home in Civilian Society
- Veterans and the Law
Summary of 10-Year Outcomes
1 Collaboration between organisations: Improved collaboration between organisations offers veterans coherent support.
2 Coordination of veterans' services: The coordination of veterans provision delivers consistent aims and principles over time and throughout the UK, ensuring veterans, their families and the bereaved are treated fairly compared to the local population.
3 Data on the veteran community: Enhanced collection, use and analysis of data across the public, private and charitable sectors to build an evidence base to effectively identify and address the needs of veterans.
4 Public perception and understanding: The UK population value veterans and understand their diverse experiences and culture.
5 Recognition of veterans: Veterans feel that their service and experience is recognised and valued by society.
1 Community and relationships: Veterans are able to build healthy relationships and integrate into their communities.
2 Employment, education and skills: Veterans enter appropriate employment and can continue to enhance their careers throughout their working lives.
3 Finance and debt: Veterans leave the Armed Forces with sufficient financial education, awareness and skills to be financially self-supporting and resilient.
4 Health and wellbeing: All veterans enjoy a state of positive physical and mental health and wellbeing, enabling them to contribute to wider aspects of society.
5 Making a home in civilian society: Veterans have a secure place to live either through buying, renting or social housing.
6 Veterans and the law: Veterans leave the Armed Forces with the resilience and awareness to remain law-abiding civilians.
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