About the Armed Forces Covenant

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise made by the nation to those who serve or who have served in the armed forces and their families. It ensures their fair treatment. We recognise the contribution and sacrifice made by the members of the armed forces community.

The Covenant includes:

  • those who serve in the armed forces (regular or reserve)
  • those who have served in the past
  • their families

It ensures their fair treatment in the provision of public or commercial services. This includes fair and equal access to goods, services and information. In some cases special consideration is appropriate, especially for those who have given the most, such as the injured and bereaved.

This obligation involves the whole of society including:

  • statutory, voluntary and charitable bodies
  • private organisations
  • individuals

Key elements of the Covenant:

  • service personnel, ex-service personnel and their families are NOT disadvantaged through military service
  • ensuring a level playing field with equal access to any form of service or support or information
  • special consideration is given on a case-by-case basis and is at the discretion of the organisation providing it

The Armed Forces Act, which gained Royal Assent in Parliament on 15 December 2021, enshrined the Armed Forces Covenant in law for the first time. The Act delivers a series of improvements, placing a duty on public bodies. This includes councils, the Police and Primary Health Care providers.

The Government publishes a progress report each year, you can read the national annual report on the government’s website. The short film 60 second covenant provides an overview of the Covenant and its importance.

Solent Armed Forces Partnership Board

We joined the Solent Armed Forces Partnership Board in 2016. The board includes Portsmouth, Gosport, and Southampton Councils. In 2023 Havant Borough Council also joined the partnership. The partnership has worked together to understand the needs of the armed forces community within the Solent region and:

  • raise awareness of the support given by local authorities
  • understand the needs of the local veteran population as well as serving personnel during transition to civilian life
  • evaluate the impact of these initiatives

The Isle of Wight Civil Military Partnership

The Armed Forces Community Covenant is run by the Isle of Wight Civil Military Partnership. The Armed Forces Community Covenant for the Isle of Wight (PDF, 3MB) was originally signed on 24 June 2013 and was resigned on the 14th of June 2022, following the Falkland's 40 commemorations.

The Covenant has been renewed annually at a civic ceremony marking Armed Forces Day.

The Covenant is a pledge made between the Island’s civilian community and the armed forces. The aims are as follows:

  • develop a better understanding between the civilian and armed forces community
  • tackle any disadvantages arising from service

The Civil Military Partnership brings together the armed forces, local armed forces groups, the voluntary sector, and public bodies.

View a copy of the Terms of Reference for the Isle of Wight Civil Military Partnership (PDF, 98KB).

Find more guidance and support about the Armed Force Covenant from the government website.

Show your support

Over 2000 businesses nationally have pledged their commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant. If you are a business or organisation you can find out more and sign up to the Covenant.

Defence employer recognition scheme

The Defence employer recognition scheme recognises employers who have given excellent support to the armed forces community.

This allows the Ministry of Defence to thank and honour those organisations for their support.

A three-tier award system which reflects the different levels of commitment provided by employers:

  • bronze
  • silver
  • gold

Isle of Wight Council is a Gold award winner and achieved this status in 2022.

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