Taking the Strategy Forward in Scotland: Our Refreshed
Collaboration & Coordination
Outcome: improved collaboration between organisations offers veterans coherent support and 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.
We will achieve this by:
- Working with OSCR (the Scottish Charity Regulator) and Veterans Scotland to expand the guidance for new charities produced by OSCR to also specifically signpost to Veterans Scotland. While decisions on such charities will remain with OSCR, Veterans Scotland will be able to advise on gaps or potential overlaps with other Scottish charities, ensuring that applicants have a clear understanding of existing charity coverage in the sector.
- Offering all Local Authority Champions the opportunity to meet with the Cabinet Secretary for Veterans at least once per year to continue to develop the partnership approach in delivering the Veterans Strategy and to review Terms of Reference for the group.
- Improving sector-wide information and guidance, including increased promotion of, and greater collaboration and information sharing between, Veterans Gateway and Veterans Assist.
- Supporting and participating in cross-government work to improve understanding and raise awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant, through, for example, engagement in the cross-government Covenant Reference Group.
- Engaging with the dedicated team of Armed Forces Champions across the Department of Work and Pensions. We will work with the staff based in Scotland, whose focus will be to help veterans and their families to find a job and receive the financial support they are entitled to, to ensure joined-up support across governments where appropriate.
- Continuing to recognise the work of the Unforgotten Forces consortium to improve the lives of older veterans.
- Continuing to support the Scottish Veterans Fund. We have allocated over £2.3 million through the Scottish Veterans Fund since 2008, supporting over 190 projects across Scotland and benefiting the lives of hundreds of veterans and their families. The Scottish Government has committed to maintain the fund at its increased level of £500k per annum for the remainder of this Parliamentary term.
- Building on the excellent relationships developed with the three Services in Scotland and the Families Federations.
- [New] Working with partners to encourage collaboration across the Armed Forces Third Sector in Scotland through such mechanisms as the Unforgotten Forces consortium, the Scottish Veterans Fund and Veterans Scotland's capacity building grant.
- [New] Continuing to fund and support the role of the independent Scottish Veterans Commissioner and prioritising the delivery of any outstanding and new recommendations.
- [New] Continuing to work closely with and support the MOD as it seeks to further embed the Armed Forces Covenant into legislation through the Armed Forces Act 2021, including development of statutory guidance.
- [New] Working with the UK Government and other Devolved Administrations to support the delivery of those commitments in the UK Government's 2022-24 Veterans Strategy Action Plan which impact veterans right across the UK.
Outcome: 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.
We will achieve this by:
- Working to encourage veterans to declare their veteran status when seeking a service or support.
- Working with National Records of Scotland (NRS) and stakeholders to develop outputs from the Census concerning the veterans community in Scotland. Analysis and outputs will be linked to the themes and cross-cutting factors of the Strategy for Our Veterans, and will look to address priority research questions and evidence gaps.
- Beginning a programme of work that will seek to collate and assess research that has been published on the veterans community in Scotland, to identify gaps in our knowledge. We have also identified additional sources of regular data collection beyond the Census, such as including the same veterans question in the Scottish Household, Health and Crime and Justice Surveys.
- Considering viable and robust options for carrying out further research to begin to address evidence gaps in line with our priority research questions. Throughout this process we will engage with the academic and wider expert research community.
- With the UK Government, exploring data-sharing opportunities to exploit current data and identify gaps.
Perception and Recognition
Outcome: the UK population value veterans and understand their diverse experiences and culture; veterans feel that their service and experience is recognised and valued by society.
We will achieve this by:
- Engaging regularly with the Heads of the Armed Forces in Scotland to support the positive narrative that reinforces the vital work that the Armed Forces do in keeping our country safe and secure and the importance of their presence in Scotland.
- Improving training and resources for service providers engaging with the Armed Forces and veterans community, so that the modern veteran is better understood by those delivering services; for example, by promoting the Forces Connect products that have been developed for Local Authorities.
- Supporting the Office for Veterans' Affairs' commitment to undertake a scoping study for provision of digital verification of veteran status, and further work to develop options for Phase 2 of the rollout of veterans ID cards.
- Working with employers in Scotland to highlight positive case studies to help promote veterans as assets to employers, communities and our wider society.
- [New] Working with partners to ensure the contributions of veterans are properly recognised and understood by wider society through commemorations and education materials.
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