I am publishing my assessment of the benefits and value of appointing an Armed Forces Commissioner for Wales. This follows my commitment during Plenary on 29 November, to meet with the Cross-Party Group for Armed Forces and Cadets and make an informed decision following the meeting.
Having met with the Cross-Party Group and considered the work being undertaken in Wales, and across the UK and beyond, I set out my decision below;
A tremendous amount of progress has been made in Wales over the last two years. Working closely with the Armed Forces Expert Group, we have delivered on key areas including;
- Revision and promotion of the Package of Support for the Armed Forces community, and the development of the Welcome to Wales document for serving personnel and their families.
- Armed Forces free swimming scheme.
- A Housing Referral Pathway and Code of Guidance for Local Authorities on the Allocation of Accommodation and Homelessness – this provides early assistance to veterans at risk of becoming homeless.
- Total disregard of War Disablement Pension for veterans accessing social care.
- Further financial support to Veterans NHS Wales to alleviate waiting lists and increase capacity to treat veterans with mental health issues.
- Revision of the Healthcare Priority for Veterans Guidance.
- Support for veterans in the criminal justice system.
The work of the Armed Forces Expert Group has been at the forefront of this. Unique to Wales, it provides a collective voice and platform to identify and deliver services and support for our Armed Forces community.