We have recently gone through the process of signing the Armed Forces Covenant ourselves and being mindful of the frequency with which our customers encounter it during the procurement process. Therefore, we felt it was worth delving into the background of the Armed Forces covenant, and its benefits.
Background to the Armed Forces Covenant
The Armed Forces, by the very nature of their job, put the needs of the Nation first. This often means that they forgo aspects of “normal” life enjoyed by those of use outside the armed forces, as do their families. First introduced into parlance in 2000, and solidified by the Armed Forces Act 2011, the Covenant is a promise, from the nation, to all those who have served:
“the whole nation has a moral obligation to the members of the Naval Service, the Army and the Royal Air Force, together with their families. They deserve our respect and support, and fair treatment.”
Whilst a covenant usually implies some form of legal agreement, the Armed Forces Covenant has no basis in law and is instead an informal understanding. This, however, in no way undermines the seriousness of the Covenant.
Impact on Procurement
The impact of the Covenant has made its way into public sector procurement, most notably with 2016’s Procurement Policy Note (PPN) – Armed Forces Covenant, encouraging organisations to sign the Covenant. Since the issue of this notice, no doubt you will have noticed that many procurement packs mention the Armed Forces Covenant, its principles, and where to sign it.
Whilst it is not a compulsory or legal requirement, and therefore having no impact on the award of any contract, Tendering Authorities are keenly aware of the significance of the Covenant and encourage all bidders to make their pledge.
Signing the Covenant
If you would like to make your Armed Forces Covenant pledge, follow the link provided and follow the instructions. It couldn’t be simpler.
- Download the template
- Fill in your company details
- Amend the pledge to suit the nature of your business
- Send your completed pledge, in PDF form, to the email address given
Once your email has been sent there is roughly a two-and-a-half week wait before your pledge will go live and you will join over 3500 companies, organisations and charities who have pledged their support for the Armed Forces.
Social Value impact is becoming ever more important in procurement, and the Armed Forces Covenant pledge is part of this. The Covenant allows companies to do what they can within the remit or nature of their business. In some cases, companies exceed these standard expectations.
An example that springs to mind is Veolia, who in 2018 went above and beyond, re-singing the Armed Forces Covenant and upgrading their commitment to the Armed Forces. With more than 400 employees who are current or former military personnel, and incredible sensitivity towards the leave requirements of those involved with the Armed Forces, Veolia have set a great example. Read more about Veolia’s renewed pledge here.