Armed Forces Covenant Duty

Cover, The Ministry of Defence Statutory Guidance on the Armed Forces Covenant Duty

Are you aware the Armed Forces Covenant Duty came into force on 22 November 2022? The Duty is supported by Statutory Guidance to help specific bodies in healthcare, housing (local authority) and education understand what is required of them under the new Covenant Duty.

The new legislation is a change in UK law and will impose a new duty of due regard for the Covenant on local authorities. Nationally, reports have re-emphasised the need to support Armed Forces families.

Carolyn MacLeod, ADES National Education Officer (NEO) for children and young people of Armed Forces and Veteran families, said: “The Armed Forces Act 2021 will amend the Armed Forces Act 2006 by inserting sections that place a legal duty (the ‘Covenant Duty’) on specified public persons and bodies, to have due regard to the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant when exercising certain statutory functions in the fields of healthcare, education, and housing.”

“The Armed Forces Act 2021 will amend the Armed Forces Act 2006 by placing a legal duty on specified public persons and bodies…”

Carolyn MacLeod, NEO

The Statutory Guidance explains the implications of the new Act, which will have force in Scotland. Schools, providing education and supporting Armed Forces families, will play a critical role in your authority’s ability to demonstrate due regard, a copy of the guidance is available here.

The legislation identifies the following education areas:

  • Admissions
  • Educational attainment and curriculum
  • Child wellbeing
  • Transport
  • Attendance
  • Additional needs support
  • Use of Service Pupil Premium funding (England only)

These education functions are within the scope of the duty in compulsory education settings, that is primary, secondary, and – for England only – compulsory further education. It does not cover nursery or early years education.