Thursday, June 13, 2024

This is an ARCHIVED article at Information and links may well be out of date.

 On the health of service personnel, the report concedes that while "much progress has been made in healthcare, we remain concerned at the impact of mobility on Service family members required to cross either PCT or country boundaries as a result of an assignment and who find themselves faced with differing funding provision and eligibility criteria.

And on education, the Ministry of Defence admits that: "It is clear that specific disadvantages are still in evidence for serving personnel, their partners and children," although the MoD insists that many measures, including the government's pupil premium, will help to alleviate these problems.

Contributors to the report from outside government also express concern that reservists will increasingly expect to see active duty, and that this will present issues which the government needs to look at urgently.

Professor Hew Strachan from Oxford University notes several areas being overlooked regarding reservists:

One is the use of the Pupil Premium for the support of Reservists' children while they are deployed. Another is the medical support given to Reservists on return from operations, particularly in the area of mental health since Reservists are reported to suffer more in this respect than Regulars. In general the impact of the reform of Reserves on the families of Reservists, who do not enjoy the same levels of unit support afforded Regulars, will need careful monitoring.

The report was drafted before the Armed Services Act was passed in November, but the report notes that many of the areas of concern would need to be addressed in other bills before Parliament, including the Health and Social Care Bill currently making its way through the House of Lords.

The government says it will publish its final report on the Military Covenant in the early part of 2012.

A quote about... representation

The central question in the debate on military unions or associations is not what the body representing the interests of members of the armed forces is called but rather how to respect the rights of military personnel to the freedom of association and assembly while at the same time meeting the needs and legitimate concerns of the military, given its unique function.

Handboook on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Armed Forces Personnel, Chapter 9, Military Unions and Associations