William Eichler 30 July 2019

New Office of Veterans’ Affairs needs ‘teeth’, council chiefs say

New Office of Veterans’ Affairs needs ‘teeth’, council chiefs say image

Local authority leaders have welcomed the creation of a new position within the cabinet dedicated to veterans’ affairs, but warned it should be ‘given teeth’.

The prime minister announced yesterday that Oliver Dowden had been appointed as the minister tasked with representing veterans in cabinet while visiting a military base in Scotland.

Mr Dowden will work closely with Johnny Mercer who has been appointed minister for defence people and veterans, which is now a joint Ministry of Defence and Cabinet Office position.

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs will work with departments to coordinate and drive Government policy on veterans’ welfare, spanning mental and physical health, education and employment.

‘It is absolutely right that the Government should do all it can to support our armed forces from the day they enlist and for the rest of their lives,’ said Mr Johnson.

‘Veterans have given so much to the UK. They have so much to offer our workplaces and wider society and it would be a dereliction of duty not to harness that potential.

‘By taking responsibility for the full gamut of veterans’ civilian lives – from ensuring they get the medical treatment they require, to further training and skills after they have transitioned from service to keep them in good jobs, to targeted interventions to prevent the scourge of veteran homelessness – Oliver Dowden, Johnny Mercer and our brand new Office for Veterans’ Affairs will do just that.’

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Oliver Dowden, commented: ‘Our veterans have made extraordinary sacrifices for this country and it’s only right that we repay their commitment with the right support and care when they leave service. I’m honoured to take on this role as a champion for veterans across government and will be a voice for their interests at the cabinet table.’

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community and Wellbeing Board, described the announcement as ‘a positive step’.

‘Armed Forces serving personnel, veterans and their families are valued members of our communities which is why all councils, who are often the first port of call for veterans and their families, are committed to supporting them and have signed the voluntary Armed Forces Covenant,’ he said.

‘Councils work with partners to provide a range of services including housing, money advice, employment support and health and wellbeing services, that help to meet the needs of veterans and their families.’

Cllr Hudspeth added that the new Office needed to be ‘given teeth, including additional funding for councils.’

‘The scale of the funding challenge facing local government means it is becoming increasingly challenging to maintain the current level of support for the armed forces community,’ he said.

‘Our veterans deserve the best support, and councils look forward to working with the Government to ensure that they receive just that.’

Photo: Simon Annable / Shutterstock.com

It’s party time image

It’s party time

Paul Marinko tries to help the sector navigate the web of policy commitments for local government on offer after 12 December.
Collaboration is the key to tackling homelessness image

Collaboration is the key to tackling homelessness

With the support of stakeholders, including forward-thinking local authorities, Beam’s innovative support model ‘swiftly removes every barrier faced by homeless people from entering the workforce’, says Seb Barker.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Trainee Craft Employee x6

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£18,795 - £19,945 per annum
Seeking to recruit several Trainee Carpenters within the Asset Management and Maintenance Service. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Social Worker - Family Support & Protection

Essex County Council
£26001.0 - £30000.0 per annum
Please note this role is based in Clacton and is open to Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSWs). The starting salary for NQSWs is £27,775 per annum an England, Essex, Clacton-On-Sea
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Corporate Director of Neighbourhoods and Climate Change

Durham County Council
£148,583
You will manage a range of front-line services including bins and waste, transport, environmental health, technical services, partnerships and... Durham (County)
Recuriter: Durham County Council

Corporate Director of Regeneration, Economy and Growth

Durham County Council
£148,583
Seeking candidates who are adept at building relationships, able to work successfully with regional and national partners... Durham (County)
Recuriter: Durham County Council

Tenancy Enforcement Assistant

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22.377 - £23.607
Looking for individuals who have an interest in the environment with good customer service skills, flexible approach to work and a good team player. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine