Date issued; 23 August 2018
Colchester Borough Council has received a Silver Award from the Ministry of Defence for its work to acknowledge and support the work of the Armed Forces.
The MoD bestows the Silver Award, part of its Employer Recognition Scheme, to businesses and organisations which go the extra mile to demonstrate their commitment to aiding and employing members of the military community.
To be eligible for a Silver Award, an employer must:
- have signed the Armed Forces Covenant;
- have already signalled its intent to be supportive by registering at the Bronze level;
- proactively demonstrate that service personnel/armed forces community are not unfairly disadvantaged as part of their recruiting and selection processes;
- employ at least one individual from the armed forces community category that the nomination emphasises. For example, an employer nominated for support to the Reserves must employ at least one Reservist;
- actively ensure their workforce is aware of their positive policies towards defence people issues, including an internally publicised and positive HR policy on Reserves;
- support Reserves’ mobilisations or have a framework in place and provide at least five days’ additional unpaid/paid leave for training), and
- not have been the subject of any negative PR or media activity
Colchester has a historic and established relationship with the Armed Forces, thanks to the centuries-old link between the town and its garrison. Following a successful bid to the MoD Covenant Fund, it also shares a dedicated Armed Forces Development Officer with Tendring and Braintree Councils.
The council was also one of the first local authorities to sign up to the official Defence Discount Service, in 2017, offering military discounts and concessions at Leisure World, Colchester Castle and Lion Walk Activity Centre, as well as on Colchester Events Company weddings.
Cllr Tina Bourne, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: “The Silver Award is a tremendous endorsement of our promise to support the local Armed Forces community.
“As signatories to the Armed Forces Covenant, we are committed to supporting all members of the military community with fairness and respect, so they do not face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services.
“We aim to maintain and develop this work going forward – setting an example to other organisations in the process – so that we to continue to provide our Servicemen and Women with the support they rightly deserve and make a Better Colchester for all.”
Cllr Lyn Barton, Armed Forces Champion, added: “I am delighted that Colchester Borough Council has received this outstanding award, which reflects our dedication to supporting current and former members of the military and their families.
“I would encourage other businesses and organisations in the area to look at the criteria for the award and ask if there is anything they can do to be more Armed Forces friendly.”
Lieutenant Colonel Steve Caldwell, Commander of Colchester Garrison, said: “The Garrison enjoys a close and productive working relationship with Colchester Borough Council. The council is aware of and responsive to the needs of the town’s military community. I congratulate the council on receiving the Silver Award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.”
The council will receive its Silver Award at a special ceremony being held on Thursday 8th November at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
For more information on the council's work with the Armed Forces, please visit www.colchester.gov.uk/armedforces.
Find out more about the Armed Forces Covenant at: www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk
Better Colchester is a dynamic two-year action plan to help deliver the aims and objectives of the council’s overarching strategic plan. Around £2 million has been set aside to deliver proposals that will make Colchester an even better place to live, work in and visit. Find out more at www.colchester.gov.uk/bettercolchester