Council and local businesses show their support for military reservists

Council Leader Ian Hudspeth signed a “Corporate Covenant” on September 2 - a written and publicised voluntary pledge from organisations that wish to express their support for the armed forces community.

Other organisations across the county also signed the covenant – employers are being offered various options to sign up to, as it acknowledged that differing organisations will be able to provide individual means of support.

Oxfordshire County Council currently employs six reservists and is very much open to encouraging more staff to become reservists.

Britain’s Armed Forces are rising to the challenge of increasing the numbers of reservists as they become a fully integrated part of Britain’s defence.

Nearly 100 organisations nationwide have signed a corporate covenant including Amey and Prolinx in Oxfordshire.

Real benefits

Councillor Hudspeth said: “Reservists can bring real benefits to an employer and the armed forces are very keen to do their bit to nurture a two way relationship and ensure the needs of companies are considered alongside their own.

“The skills on offer from individual reservists can often be of real direct benefit to employers – it is clear to see how people who are reservists, and experts in engineering, communication or logistics, can bring real value to civilian employers. Another example might be the clear crossover in skills required by reservists in the Defence Medical Services and people who work in the NHS.

“Oxfordshire has always been a county in which the military has been well represented and this is a chance for business to build a reputation as being ‘armed forces friendly’ at a time when public support for our RAF, Navy and Army is at an all-time high.

“The county council was proud to demonstrate its support for the local military by being the first local authority in the country to sign up to the Armed Forces Community Covenant in 2011. We’re now proud to be taking our support a stage further.”

Brigadier Andrew Hughes, Commander 11 Infantry Brigade said: “I am very grateful for the support that Oxfordshire County Council provides the military in Oxfordshire and the signing of the Corporate Covenant is another example of the excellent cooperation that exists between us.

“There are approximately 11,000 service personnel in Oxfordshire. The largest RAF base in the country is at RAF Brize Norton and there are nearly 50 Army units of varying roles and size; when you take account of their families and the growing number of reservists, this is a significant military presence.

“In signing the Corporate Covenant, Oxfordshire County Council (and the employers that they energise into supporting the military) will greatly help our servicemen and women in a number of different ways.

“Many in the services are fortunate to live and work in Oxfordshire.  Equally we are fortunate to be able to recruit here and return our soldiers to a more normal life when they transition.”   

What options are available for local employers?

Businesses/charitable organisations who wish to participate will be asked to pledge their support for two key principles:

  • No member of the armed forces should ever face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen
  • In some circumstances, special treatment may be appropriate, especially for the injured or bereaved

Employers can then select from a range of other commitment they feel they can make, appropriate to their own circumstances:

These include:

Promoting being an armed forces friendly organisation; seeking to support the employment of veterans young and old; striving to support the employment of services spouses and partners; offering a degree of flexibility in granting leave for service spouses before during and after a partner’s deployment; seeking to support employees who choose to be members of reserve forces – including accommodating their training and deployment where possible; offering support to local cadet units, aiming to actively participate in Armed Forces Day; offering a discount to members of the armed forces community.

JSP of Minster Lovell, one of Europe's leading independent manufacturers of personal protective equipment and industrial head protection also signed the covenant.

The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, South Oxfordshire District Council, the Vale of White Horse District Council, Oxford City Council, Wantage Town Council, West Oxfordshire District Council and Carterton Town Council also signed.