Under the Strengthening Delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant Programme the Covenant Fund awarded £6.6M through two rounds of funding to clusters of Local Authorities (LAs).
They used the funding to work with other Local Authorities in their areas enabling them to deliver projects linked to needs identified by their Local Covenant Partnerships and find ways to ensure that Armed Forces communities locally could access the right types of services and support.
Projects typically sought to build local capacity and improve awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant. In the second round, funding was also made available to establish drop-in centres in places where these did not exist.
The Strengthening Delivery Programme (SDP) was evaluated by RAND Europe. The report found that the funding had a significant positive impact on delivery of the Covenant.
This was particularly through
- improving coordination and the sharing of best practice between relevant local stakeholders;
- providing tailored support to the Armed Forces community;
- raising awareness among public authorities about the support available to the Armed Forces community.
Some grant holders felt that the work they did was only achievable through their grants. In many cases, the funding enabled the employment of a dedicated resource, which grant-holders described as essential to increasing capacity and driving forward the implementation of the Covenant.
Many grant-holders said that new signposting resources had been developed as a result of the SDP funding, highlighting the value of signposting in increasing awareness among the Armed Forces Community about the support available to them.
Where funding was used to support the use of veterans’ hubs, grant-holders reported that these were instrumental in providing a one-stop-shop and tailored approach to accessing various local services.
Melloney Poole, Chief Executive for the Trust, said:
“We are delighted that these grants had such a significant impact; and recognise that the Local Authorities we were able to support through this programme have delivered innovative work. We are actively looking at ways of being able to share more of the learning from this programme.”
Ben Caves, Senior Research Leader at RAND Europe and report co-author, said:
“The evaluation findings strongly indicate that the SDP funding has had a positive impact on delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant. We also highlight areas of good practice that Local Authorities can draw upon to continue improving the provision of services to serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and their families in their areas.”