The AFC is a promise by the nation to ensure that members of the AF&V community are not disadvantaged by their service. It has been signed up to by many public, private and third sector organisations.
It is also a legislative duty for public sector organisations that deliver education, health and housing.
The Armed Forces Covenant’s three principles are that:
- Regard should be paid to the unique obligations of, and sacrifices made by, the Armed Forces.
- The Armed Forces community should not face disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services in the area where they live.
- Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most such as the injured and the bereaved.
The AFC Duty came into effect on 22 November 2022. It is a statutory duty for specific bodies in the areas of health, housing and education.
The bodies subject to the Duty are expected to consciously consider and pay due regard to the Covenant when developing, delivering and reviewing policies and decisions which may impact the Armed Forces and Veterans community and help improve their access to public services.
The Armed Forces Covenant Duty covers:
- currently serving members of the His Majesty’s Forces (Regular and Reserve)
- currently serving members of British Overseas Territories’ Armed Forces, who are subject to UK Service law
- veterans, who are ordinarily resident in the UK
- relevant family members.
Although the legislative duty covers only those who serve or have served in HM Forces and their families, NHS Highland recognises the sacrifices made by Merchant Naval Seafarers, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service and their families as well as the confusion that a two-tier system may cause healthcare professionals. Where possible, the whole AF&V community should be considered under the duty.