IS THE Armed Forces Covenant helping your family get a fair deal? AFF’s Covenant&You campaign attracted a mix of both positive and negative experiences.

From your feedback, we know there are areas where the Covenant is making a positive difference. Jade, whose son Joey has special educational needs, explained: “We moved from Germany back to the UK last year and it looked like we would be put at the bottom of waiting lists for services, but the Covenant and help from AFF meant that our previous waiting time was taken into account.”

Some of you have faced difficulties in accessing basic services, especially when returning to the UK from a lengthy overseas posting.

“We tried to open a bank account with a high street bank and they refused because we had no checkable five-year address history. It would be very useful if the Covenant assisted with this type of issue,” said one Army spouse.

Another respondent commented that it wasn’t just the big issues that were a challenge: “The thing that upsets me most about moving is that your children rarely get to the top of the waiting list for things like Brownies, ballet classes or gymnastics.”

Mixed experiences

A common theme is employment, with some of the 1,900 organisations who’ve signed the Covenant having made specific pledges around spousal employment. However, the responses we received were good and bad.

While some employers understand the need for flexible working, others do not.

One spouse, who requested more child-friendly hours, said: “I was told that they would rather I didn’t reduce my hours because the person after me might not be able to manage.

“They said that as a military spouse, they knew I wouldn’t be there forever.”

AFF & the Covenant

Laura Lewin, our Employment, Training, Allowances & Money Specialist, explained how we champion the Covenant.

“AFF works with the Covenant team, Defence Relationship Management, businesses and local authorities to ensure the Covenant is working effectively for families and that they are treated fairly.

“As well as providing guidance and signposting, AFF can use your evidence to help affect positive changes. Please get in touch to tell us how the Covenant is working for you.”

Go to aff.org.uk or email etam@aff.org.uk

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