Oxfordshire highlighted nationally for good practice on working with the armed forces

Oxfordshire County Council’s work with the local armed forces has been highlighted as a national example of good practice in a new report.

The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and the Local Government Association have this week published their “Our Community, Our Covenant” report into how councils work to support the armed forces based in their area.

Oxfordshire was one of 12 areas of the country in which FiMT undertook “deep dive” research to see how the Armed Forces Covenant in Oxfordshire is working.

Strengthening links

The report said: “Oxfordshire County Council goes further than having a single elected military champion. In order to strengthen the level of engagement between the council and the Armed Forces, each of the bases in Oxfordshire has a designated military champion.

“This has the effect of strengthening the links between the Armed Forces and the council. Units therefore do not need to call up the civilian integration officer to ask any questions and they are actively encouraged to contact the council themselves.

“Champions take it upon themselves to be the link between an individual base and the county. This requires that they develop and maintain relationships with relevant officers. It also means having and maintaining presence, such as through attending events on base.”

Military are part of our DNA

Oxfordshire’s overall military champion is the leader of the county council, Cllr Ian Hudspeth.

Councillor Ian Hudspeth said: “Oxfordshire has a strong military presence and it was second nature for us to take up the opportunity to set up a military covenant earlier in the decade.

“A lot of work has gone in to strengthening links with the military and I know our various military bases value the way we have been working with them in recent years.

“To be highlighted as an example of good practice is very rewarding and will give us all the encouragement we need to build on this success. The armed forces are a welcome presence in Oxfordshire, crucial to the working of our local economy and part of our DNA as a county.”

What is the Armed Forces Covenant?

The aim is to encourage charities, local authorities, businesses, communities and individuals to work together with the military to offer support to service personnel and their families as well as reservists and veterans.

The aims of the covenant are to:

  • encourage local communities to support the armed forces community in their areas, and vice versa
  • promote understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the armed forces community
  • recognise and remember the sacrifices made by the armed forces community
  • encourage activities which help to integrate the armed forces community into local life

Who are the council’s Armed Forces Champions?

The Leader of the Council is the armed forces champion on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council. In addition, there are six other councillors acting as Armed Forces Champions for each of the bases in the county. They meet regularly with their base and act as a point of contact to discuss any issues arising.


OCC Champion

Bicester Garrison

Councillor Tim Hallchurch

RAF Brize Norton

Councillor Pete Handley

Abingdon Station

Councillor Sandy Lovatt

Shrivenham Defence Academy

Councillor Yvonne Constance

Vauxhall Barracks

Councillor Patrick Greene

RAF Benson

Councillor Lynda Atkins

Notes to editors

A full copy of the report can be found through the following link: http://www.fim-trust.org/news/