Ashford Borough Council receives Ministry of Defence award for ongoing Armed Forces community support

Published: 04/07/2024
Ashford's Armed Forces community marching through Ashford Town Centre

We are thrilled to announce that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has awarded Ashford Borough Council with a Silver Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) award as part of the council’s ongoing support for the Armed Forces.

Ashford is proud of its strong military history and important connections with the reservist and regular forces communities, having signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant on 10 May 2014.

This pledge ensures that the council will do all it can to ensure that those who serve are treated fairly and not disadvantaged in their day-to-day lives. This includes offering injured servicemen and women and bereaved families extra support where appropriate.

Ashford Borough Council’s Armed Forces Policy was also adopted in March 2024, bringing together existing support mechanisms in one document, comprising of the following key criteria:

  • Recruitment and selection – providing proactive opportunities in the selection process for current and ex-services personnel and reservists.
  • Wider support – supporting Ashford Borough Council employees who are the family members of current and ex-services personnel and reservists.
  • Leave of absence – expanding the leave of absence provisions to cover extraneous related duties; i.e. to attend the annual camp of the Non-Regular Forces and as a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer (CFAV) (up to nine days is currently provided for in this policy).
  • Community – Promoting the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) both in the community and in our internal communications.

Following the adoption of the policy and as part of the council’s recruitment and selection process, we are pleased to be able to guarantee that we will shortlist for interview all individuals that apply who are reservists and ex-services personnel who meet the essential criteria.

This will be identified through questions on the online application form which the applicant will complete as part of the selection process. When advertising any roles externally, adverts and / or website links will be sent to relevant charities and interest groups in the Armed Forces community to proactively highlight the opportunities available within the council. Reservists and ex-services personnel who are not successful at interview for any reason will be offered the opportunity for a detailed feedback discussion.

Armed Forces applicants will also not be subject to the local connection criteria when applying to join our housing waiting list. Where any applicant is currently serving in the Armed Forces, we will only assess the application when we have a confirmed date for discharge.

Tracey Kerly, Chief Executive of Ashford Borough Council, said: “Having seen some of the hard work that our officers do behind the scenes to ensure that members of our local Armed Forces community are looked after, I am delighted and proud Ashford has been recognised with this coveted award.

“It’s also particularly poignant to be receiving this acknowledgment from the Ministry of Defence at a time when we have recently remembered those who gave so much for our freedoms we enjoy today, during Ashford’s D-Day 80 commemorations of which it was an absolute pleasure to see so many members and veterans within our borough’s Armed Forces community attend.”

Armed Forces Covenant banner with text that reads Employer Recognition Scheme award. Proudly supporting those who serve.

The council will now work towards achieving a gold accreditation having paid tribute to servicemen and servicewomen, past and present on Armed Forces Day, which took place nationally on Saturday 29 June.

A local Armed Forces Day event in Ashford also took place on Sunday 30 June at Victoria Park between 10am-5pm, giving residents an opportunity to attend and give their thanks.

For further information on the Armed Forces Covenant, and to get advice and support for the Armed Forces Community please visit the dedicated Armed Forces section of our website. The UK Government also has an Armed Forces Covenant guidance page.