A Cross Party Group of Assembly Members is calling on the Welsh Government to consider the appointment of an Armed Forces Commissioner for Wales.
The call forms part of a series of recommendations made within an inquiry – published today by the Cross Party on the Armed Forces and Cadets – into the impact of the Armed Forces Covenant on armed forces personnel.
The inquiry’s publication coincides with the centenary of the signing of the Armistice which brought an end to the hostilities of the First World War.
The Covenant was enshrined into legislation into 2011, and recognises the country’s moral obligation to ensure that armed forces personnel, veterans and their families do not face disadvantage in accessing public or commercial services as a result of their military service.
The Group found that in spite of positive developments since the Covenant’s introduction, issues remain as to how public sector organisations in Wales fulfil their obligations.
Problems identified included insufficient accountability for delivery of the Covenant, a lack of awareness of the Covenant among public sector staff, and unsustainability in how Covenant-related activities are funded.
Having considered the evidence, the Cross Party Group have made recommendations to improve the delivery of the Covenant in Wales. These include recommendations to:
- Appoint an Armed Forces Commissioner for Wales
- Improve the identification of the armed forces and veteran community in Wales
- Introduce a Welsh Service Pupil Premium
- Review and increase funding for Veterans’ NHS Wales
- Extend the ‘Cymru’n Cofio – Wales Remembers’ project
- Increase the provision of supported housing for vulnerable veterans in Wales
- Establish an employment scheme for service leavers, veterans and reservists
Darren Millar AM, Chair of the Cross Party on the Armed Forces and Cadets, said:
“On this important anniversary, we owe it to those who fought in the First World War, and all conflicts since, to ensure that we continue to honour their memory by upholding the Covenant between the people of Wales and those who serve, or have served, in our Armed Forces.
“Wales has a proud record of support for our armed forces and there have been many positive developments in recent years, but there is still more that can and should be done.
“We believe that the recommendations in our report have the potential to make a real difference for military personnel, veterans and their families.
“We urge decision-makers at all levels of government to demonstrate their resolute commitment to the Covenant by implementing them.”