The Government has formed a new Department specifically to look after veterans, the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA), which is part of the Cabinet Office. The Gov.uk website explains the Office’s function:
We lead UK Government efforts to make sure the United Kingdom is the best place to be a veteran anywhere in the world, helping the nation fulfil its lifelong duty to those who have served in the Armed Forces.
The Office’s broader responsibilities include
- ensuring the interests of veterans are championed right at the heart of government
- coordinating all functions of the UK Government to ensure the best support for veterans and their families as they transition back into civilian life
- collaborating with devolved administrations, local government and organisations throughout the veterans sector to help create positive, long term transitions for individuals who have served in the Armed Forces
- ensuring that every veteran and their family knows where to turn to access government support if they need it
- celebrating and showcasing the brilliant contribution veterans make to society after leaving service
The first Director is Colonel (Retd) David Richmond CBE.
One of the first acts of the Office for Veterans’ Affairs is to publish and deliver the Government’s consultation response and action plan to deliver the Strategy for our Veterans. This came out of a consultation that began in November 2018, and has recently been published. You can find the document and related content on the Consultation page.
Another aspect of the OVA’s work has been to bring about a Veterans’ Railcard, which will give veterans reduced prices for rail travel, enabling them to travel for work, and to bring them closer to friends and family. The Veteran Railcard will be available from 11 November 2020, Armistice Day. Veterans using the card will be eligible for a third off their fairs, and an additional 830,000 former service personnel will be eligible to claim it, not including veterans who are already eligible for other rail discount cards.
In another announcement, the Government has promised military veterans guaranteed interviews for civil service jobs. This will begin in spring 2020, with pilots in the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Defence, the Cabinet Office and the Home Office, including UK Border Force, all of which were keen to be part of the pilot as they believe veterans will bring the skills and experience they need. There will not be a time limit for those leaving service and when they can take up the guaranteed interview offer. Applicants will need to meet basic minimum criteria during the selection stage.