New study highlights best practice in embedding Armed Forces Covenant at a local level

September 13, 2023

The Trust has commissioned RAND Europe to evaluate the findings from our Sustaining Delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant programme.

About the Sustaining Delivery programme

The Sustaining Delivery programme provided funding to enable local authority clusters funded under our Strengthening Delivery of the Covenant programme to conclude their work; delivering longer term changes that enable people from Armed Forces communities to be able to better access services and support in their local areas.

Local authority clusters were required to use the funding to embed delivery of the Covenant within their area using learning from their previous grant. They had to show that their work would support improved engagement with the Covenant, improve integration of the Armed Forces community within the wider community, and improve the overall reach of existing services.

Evaluating the impact of the funding

RAND Europe’s research focused on how the grant funding helped awardees to build upon previous funding received under the Strengthening Delivery of the Covenant Programme. They explored how grantees had used the additional £25,000 of funding to continue or finalise the delivery of their activities. How the funding allowed services or practices to become embedded. How stories, case studies and learning as captured and shared. Finally, how the funded local authorities made up lost ground as a result of COVID-19.

Summary of findings

The study’s findings highlight practices used by the grantees to overcome barriers and challenges to better implement the Covenant. These practices include:

  • Designating a specific person or role with sole responsibility for implementing the Covenant within a particular organisation
  • Cultivating long-term support networks, partnerships and relationships with the local Armed Forces community and other organisations responsible for implementing the Covenant
  • Using clear and tailored communications with other government organisations and the broader public to communicate the Covenant’s importance and the services available
  • Dedicating data-collection efforts towards understanding the local Armed Forces community
  • Responding flexibly and adaptably in Sustaining Delivery projects’ timelines and scope as new and unforeseen challenges emerge
  • Creating long-term generic materials that others can use to better understand the Covenant and its implementation methods (e.g. Local Standards Assessments and online guidance resources).

The study also highlighted examples of innovative work undertaken by local authorities under this funding programme. A selection of these examples is available on our website.

Recommendations from the evaluation

Recommendations from the study, which may help organisations looking to implement the Covenant locally, include:

  • Using clear and proactive communications to raise public awareness about the Covenant
  • Building relationships and partnerships with other stakeholders across the Armed Forces Community
  • Gathering ongoing information about the local Armed Forces Community through personal contacts or existing data sources
  • Creating tools such as self-sustaining materials to support ongoing work across other communities and LAs at a lower cost
  • Establishing a dedicated post such as a Covenant officer or appointing Armed Forces Champions to provide a clear contact point for coordinating the Covenant’s delivery

More detail is available on each of these recommendations, in RAND Europe’s report.

Find out more

The Trust is delighted that the study shows that, overall, local authorities felt the Sustaining Delivery of the Covenant programme has positively influenced their activities. These findings echoed those of the evaluation of the Strengthening Delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant programme.

We encourage those working with Armed Forces communities to learn more about the findings from these Covenant programmes. As well as reading this latest report, there is a wealth of information and resources on local delivery of the Covenant, in our Knowledge Network.

These resources include everything from case studies and e-learning, to adaptable templates, processes for replication and examples of best practice.

Further reading

Head to our Knowledge Network here:

Find out more about the Sustaining Delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant, here:

Read the full study from RAND Europe, here.