Written evidence submitted by Cobseo to the Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill




  1.               Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to contribute to the Committee stage of the Armed Forces Bill and, in particular, Section 8, which addresses the Government’s intent to consolidate the Armed Forces Covenant in legislation.


  1.               The Confederation fully supports the Government’s intent to strengthen the delivery of the Covenant, and we have worked closely with MOD officials to ensure that the Service Charity Sector perspective is understood and reflected as policy proposals are developed. This included the establishment of a Joint Working Group comprising MOD, Cobseo, and Sector representatives, which convened regularly during 2020; and which was also complemented by regular opportunities to engage with the Veterans Minister. This informal consultation was constructive, and helped to improve policy proposals, as well clarifying the issues where there will be a need for continuing oversight as we move forward.


  1.               While we believe that our engagement has had a positive impact on the draft legislation, there are still some areas where we would have liked to see more progress, and some issues that will require careful monitoring once the legislation is implemented. These include:







  1.               It is clear that proposals set out in Section 8 represent a work in progress, and will need to be followed up by further legislation to capture the full scope of the Covenant, and what it means to the Armed Forces Community. Cobseo will continue to monitor developments, including seeking evidence from members, and service providers, on the impact on the ground. We will also utilise Covenant and Veterans Strategy reporting processes to highlight any difficulties, and hold Government to account.


  1.               Cobseo will continue to work closely with MOD, including regional engagement to promote understanding of, and support for, the Covenant and its underpinning principles.



Chairman of Cobseo                                                                                    

General Sir John McColl KCB CBE DSO




5th March 2021

Written evidence submitted to the Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill