Liverpool’s Armed Forces Champion and current Lord Mayor Cllr Roy Gladden (centre) at the launch of this year’s Armed Forces Week last month.

Gold award salutes council’s Armed Forces commitment

LIVERPOOL City Council has once again been given the gold seal of approval for its continuing support of the Armed Forces.

The council today successfully retained its gold award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme which it was first awarded in 2017.

The scheme, which was launched in 2014 is part of the national Armed Forces Covenant, has bronze, silver and gold levels and the council was one of the first ten local authorities to achieve the gold award. Organisations must reapply for their award every five years. There are now 643 gold award holders nationally.

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme reflects the council’s commitment to the Armed Forces community, whether currently serving in the regular or reserve forces or veterans. The council offers a guaranteed job interview scheme for service leaver applicants who meet a post’s essential criteria. Staff who are reservists receive ten additional days of paid leave for training and unlimited unpaid leave if they are mobilised. The additional paid leave entitlement was also extended to staff who volunteer with the cadets.

The gold award also acknowledges the work the council does supporting the wider Armed Forces community and their families.

Activity in the city is co-ordinated by a strategic group, featuring a wide range of partners, co-chaired by the Liverpool’s Armed Forces Champion Lord Mayor Cllr Roy Gladden and representatives from Veterans HQ. The strategic group also arranges regular Armed Forces Forum meetings for providers and other organisations which work with veterans and their families. Both these groups continued online during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The strategic group also developed Service Leavers Liverpool, a website featuring advice and guidance for people leaving the Armed Forces. In 2017 the council was a key partner when Liverpool was the host city for Armed Forces Day.

Liverpool’s Armed Forces Champion Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roy Gladden said: “Retaining the gold award is a welcome endorsement of the hard work of many partners across Liverpool in embracing the skills and the talents of the Armed Forces family.

“Leaving the Armed Forces for a new life on Civvy Street can be a huge step but at the council and in Liverpool as a city we do everything we can to make sure it’s as smooth as possible.

“Our strategic group has been a great example of partnership working. We’ve been able to share expertise and bring together many organisations so that we’re offering the best support to the veterans who have chosen to call Liverpool home.”

Bob Blanchard, chairman of Veterans HQ and co-chair of Liverpool’s Strategic Group for Armed Forces said: “This is a great achievement for Liverpool City Council. It highlights and recognises the work being done by LCC and its partners in making Liverpool the Forces-friendly city it is.

“Long may it continue to develop its innovative approach to providing support, resources and advice to our Armed Forces.”

Minister for Defence People Leo Docherty said: “Regardless of size, location or sector, employing members of the Armed Forces community is good for businesses.

“These awards recognise the outstanding support for our Armed Forces from employers across the UK and I would like to thank and congratulate each and every one.”

Liverpool Waterfront