Help for Veterans in Operational Legacy Investigations and Inquests
Veterans UK, its Veterans Welfare Service, and the Veterans UK Helpline stand ready to assist veterans, who may need support following yesterday’s announcement by the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution office of charging decisions over Bloody Sunday, or to assist any veteran who may be looking for support in respect of any other ongoing / planned legacy investigation or enquiry. Veterans UK are also working closely with the Army Operational Legacy Support Team, DJEP and relevant RHQ’s, to ensure a coordinated response to requests for help and support.
There is information about support for veterans on the Veterans UK home page, found under the heading “Operational Legacy Investigations and Inquests – Help for Veterans”.
Veterans can make contact with a range of support services to assist, as outlined in the web page, or can access support from Veterans UK Veterans Welfare Service via the Veterans UK Helpline on 0808 1914 218.
King’s welcomes back the Duke of Sussex for Veterans’ Mental Health Conference
The fifth Veterans’ Mental Health Conference took place at King’s College London on Thursday 14 March. The annual event brings together leading academics, charities and policy makers to network and to hear the latest research on military mental health from speakers of world-class reputation.
High profile guests include the Duke of Sussex, who has attended the conference three years running, and the Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood, Minister for Defence, People and Veterans who gave the opening address. Read more Here
MIMES – an Armed Forces study
As part of Mesothelioma UK’s Supporting Our Armed Forces service, they are collaborating with the University of Sheffield on a research project that aims to identify the needs of mesothelioma patients who are, or were in, the British Armed Forces.
The aims of this stage of the research are to:
- understand the experience and health/ support needs of British Armed Forces personnel/veterans with mesothelioma (with and without exposure through the Armed Forces) and family carers
- identify how best health professionals and support agencies within the Armed Forces and NHS can best meet the care and support needs of British Armed Forces personnel/veterans with mesothelioma
Those taking part will be contacted by a member of the research team who will discuss the study in more detail. Following this, a date for an interview will be arranged. This will take place on the phone, or at a place to suit the participant, and should last around 30 minutes. All responses will be anonymised.
The interview will explore views and experiences of the impact of mesothelioma for Armed Forces personnel/veterans. Topics that will be discussed in the interview through open and closed questions will include: understanding of the diagnosis, information and support needs and the impact of a diagnosis.
If you would like to take part, you must be a person or family member of someone who:
- Has worked or is working in the British Armed Forces.
- Is not experiencing physical or emotional distress that would be aggravated by participation.
- Is able to give informed consent.
- Can speak English.
Tackling Serious Stress in Veterans, Carers and Families: How will the evaluation work?
The Tackling Serious Stress programme will make large grants to projects that are trying out new and better ways of helping veterans who are very unwell, their carers and their families.
Through this programme, we will be looking very carefully at the projects that have been funded through the evaluation, which is being delivered through the University of Chester. The evaluation will explore the difference that the projects are making; and provide a evidence base so that we and others can have more information on funding projects that work.
We’ve been speaking with Professor Alan Finnegan, Professor of Nursing & Military Mental Health and the Director of the Westminster Centre for Research & Innovation in Veterans Wellbeing at the University of Chester who is leading the evaluation; to find out more about how it will work.
Read the evaluation guidance on the Tackling Serious Stress Programme Pages
The final design of the form will not be completed until the grants have been awarded next February. Any measurements and data collection will need to be applied to all the funded projects; which is why we are not able to confirm the final design of the evaluation until we know which projects are being supported. On the online framework, there is a table of what could be undertaken – not what will be undertaken. There will not be any Randomised Control Trials; although the findings may result in a recommendation for this in the future.
It’s important that once projects are set up; data can be given to the team at the University of Chester quickly; and the main mechanism for doing this will be through the questionnaire. This programme will be delivered through a portfolio approach. Grants will be made to single lead organisations which will manage a portfolio of work carried out by Delivery Partners.
The Delivery Partners within the project will collect data using a template that The University of Chester will provide, and Chester will do the analysis. Lead organisations will need to make sure that projects are sending the required data to the University of Chester.
Due to the number of projects under this common outcomes framework, means that the priority will be on layers one and two, within the evaluation outline document. This will be predominately a quantitative evaluation, with data collection from participants’ completing questionnaires. There will be space for free text; which will be clearly annotated within the evaluation questionnaires which will be finalised once the grants have been awarded under the programme. Researchers from the University of Chester will visit all projects that receive a grant at an early stage.
The programme closes on 31st December 2018; and the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has launched an online contact list for interested organisations to be able to get in touch with each other. Once you are on this list; you will be able to see the details of all of the other organisations that have joined the list; and you’ll be able to access it at any time to see if additional updates have been made. You’ll need to agree to use the information on the list just to contact other organisations that might have an interest in this programme; and not for any other purpose. To join the list; click the link and fill out the short form
NEW WEBSITE FOR ARMED FORCES COMMUNITY MORAY AND HIGHLAND
Moray and Highland Councils have launched a new website to support members of the Armed Forces community in Moray and Highland, which was briefly mentioned at the Veterans Gathering in November 2018.
A joint project, supported with an award from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, the website features information on local services and assistance available to the Armed Forces community including schools and learning, employment and training, financial advice, health and wellbeing, housing and moving to north of Scotland.
View the website www.armedforcesmorayandhighland.co.uk
New research on the long-term health of two groups of older veterans
Researchers from King’s College London, University of Oxford and Lancaster University are planning new research investigating whether past exposure to small doses of chemical warfare agents impact long-term health. Very little is known about this topic despite the continued use of chemical agents (e.g in Syria, and Salisbury UK) so the findings will be relevant to all those who have been, or are at risk of, coming into contact with chemical agents – including military personnel, emergency services, and the general population.
The new research is an update to an original study conducted by the University of Oxford. In the original study, researchers used historical records to compare patterns of cancer development and mortality between two groups of approximately 18,000 male veterans. The first group were the ‘Porton Down veterans’ – those who were exposed to small doses of chemical agents as part of the ‘human volunteer programme’ at Porton Down between 1941 and 1989; and the second group were veterans in service during the same period, but who did not go to Porton Down. This, earlier, study found little evidence of a link between those exposed to chemical agents (including mustard gas, nerve agents, and protective chemicals e.g. antidotes) and cancer or death up until 2004.
The main objective of this new research is to updated cancer and mortality data by an additional 15 years. This extra data will allow researchers to gain a greater understanding of the relationship between chemical agent exposure and long-term health at a level of detail not possible in the original study.
To learn more about the study, and your right to object to your records being used for health research, please see https://www.kcl.ac.uk/kcmhr/research/kcmhr/porton-down/porton-down.aspx, email: PDveteransfirstname.lastname@example.org; or call +44 (0) 20 7848 0505.
Members of this cohort study may object to their records being used.
Important changes to the Fundraising Preference Service
An important change to the Fundraising Preference Service will come into effect on 1 March 2019. From this date, charities will have 21 days to action a suppression request, instead of 28 days. This brings the service in line with the Data Protection Act 2018 and helps charities comply with the law.
This change means that from 1 March:
- Any person that makes a request on the service will be told that charities have 21 days to action the request.
- Any person that makes a request will be able to make a ‘follow-up’ request after 21 days (previously 28 days) if they still receive direct marketing from the charity
- We’ll consider complaints about direct marketing received by individuals 21 days after the first suppression request was made
Charities should prepare for this change now by considering how this will affect their internal processes. On 1 March all users accessing the FPS charity portal will be required to accept updated terms and conditions that reflect the change from 28 to 21 days.
Read the full article here.
Cobseo publishes Aide Memoire on Data Protection to assist Members with ICO regulation
Cobseo, The Confederation of Services Charities, has published an Aide Memoire on Data Protection to support Members with the regulatory requirements of the Information Commissioner’s Office. The Data Protection Aide Memoire explains the requirements placed on Members to fulfil the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 – laws that are applicable to all UK organisations. To help Members fully integrate this legislation at their organisations, the Aide Memoire has been written in clear sector-specific language in an easy-to-use format.
The Aide Memoire was produced following a Cobseo workshop in March 2018 where Members raised concerns about the increased regulatory burden following changes to the GDPR. Members asked Cobseo to provide more advice and guidance and following further consultations with Members to establish their specific concerns over data protection, an Aide Memoire was drafted. Practical assistance was then received from data protection teams at Member organisations and other specialists, and the Aide Memoire was finalised after a legal review.
The aim of the document is for Members to better understand the data protection obligations they must follow in their operations. Where Members need to implement or improve on individual measures, the Aide Memoire provides explanation and links to available resources and templates to aid integration.
The Data Protection Aide Memoire can be found here on the Cobseo Governance hub.
For more information on the other Aide Memoires in the series, please click here.
For all queries on the Data Protection Aide Memoire, the Governance work of Cobseo, or for help with governance at a Member organisation, please email Emma Fleming, Governance and Project Support Manager.
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Read more here
Call for Evidence: Independent Report on Service Families
The Secretary of State for Defence has asked Andrew Selous MP to produce an independent report to Government to see what more support can be offered to Service families. Andrew previously served in the Honourable Artillery Company and The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
In their call for evidence, the report team would like to hear from serving personnel and their families and from those who have recently left the armed services, as well as from providers of services to Armed Forces families in the statutory, voluntary and charity sectors.
The report team would like to receive evidence in respect of the following areas, but would also welcome evidence in any other areas of concern:
1. Accommodation and home ownership
2. Deployment lengths and frequencies
3. Children’s education
4. Health services
5. Employment of non-serving members of the Armed Forces community
6. Pressures on service couple and family relationships
7. Transition to civilian life for the whole family
The report team is keen to hear what is working well, in addition to what needs to be improved.
Submissions/comments should be sent to email@example.com by Friday 15 March. ‘Independent Report on Service Families’ should be included in the Subject line of the email.
The review will seek the first-hand experiences of military families. All families and their data will remain anonymous and no-one will be personally identified in any report. The review team will not retain any data after the report has been published. All discussions will be completely confidential and the information received will never be shared with anyone else.
Appointing the right auditor or examiner for your charity
All Scottish charities are required to prepare annual accounts. These consist of numerical information and also a Trustees’ Annual Report which is narrative information explaining what the charity has been doing in the year and providing details that cannot be expressed in financial terms.
Under statutory requirements, the accounts of Scottish charities must be externally scrutinised. That is, someone who is independent of the charity has reviewed the accounts and produced a report, attached to the accounts, that highlights any issues to the reader.
The formal requirements for accounts and external scrutiny are contained within charity law. The requirements differ depending on the constitutional form of the charity, the level of the charity’s income and also any relevant provisions contained within the charity’s governing document. Read more here
New report from Forces in Mind Trust calls for increased awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant
Less than a quarter (24%) of British organisations have heard of the Armed Forces Covenant and only 8% have signed it, according to report
A new report titled ‘Benefit not Burden’ commissioned by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and conducted by Shared Intelligence, calls for increased awareness around the benefits to businesses, public and voluntary sector organisations in the UK in signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant and being a veteran friendly employer.
Less than a quarter (24%) of the organisations surveyed in FiMT’s research had heard of the Armed Forces Covenant and only 8% had signed it. The report finds that the smaller an organisation is, the less likely it is to be aware of the Covenant or to have signed it or taken any action.
This lack of awareness, coupled with the lack of understanding around the potential disadvantage facing members of the Armed Forces Community and knowing what type of action an organisation can take, is a significant barrier to organisations signing and enacting the Armed Forces Covenant.
The report launched today, Tuesday 22nd January, at an event in the House of Commons, to an audience of MPs, Ministry of Defence representatives, and public sector and business leaders. It outlines straightforward steps to encourage more organisations across the UK to sign the Covenant, including supporting trade associations and membership bodies to promote the Covenant; they have a key role in encouraging organisations to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and highlighting its benefits.
Most organisations surveyed in the report that are aware of the Covenant had heard about it from a customer or client (23%), an individual within the organisation (22%) or another organisation within a supply chain (17%). Just 3% of organisations cite trade associations as the reason they are aware of the Covenant, and only 10% cite the Ministry of Defence.
Other recommendations in the report include mobilising the voice of the Armed Forces Community to encourage the organisations they work with to sign the Covenant, and encouraging local authorities, other public bodies and large businesses to use their supply chains and procurement processes to encourage businesses and other organisations to sign.
FiMT’s report provides evidence that organisations which have signed the Armed Forces Covenant are more likely to see direct benefits of employing ex-Service personnel, including recruiting or retaining skilled staff and enhancing a company’s reputation. 28% of organisations surveyed in the research claimed that they are likely to sign the Covenant over the next year.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Ex-Service personnel offer a substantial premium of capability to a prospective employer, and a commercial supplier can reap the rewards of customer loyalty and brand reputation by offering the Armed Forces Community advantageous access to goods and services, while ensuring their unique background in the military does not create disadvantage.
“The research in this report shows that there are many organisations who wish to support the Armed Forces Community, but who lack the knowledge and understanding of how to do so. It has identified some straightforward steps that could be taken relatively easily, and which would result in a substantial improvement in how the nation fulfils its side of the Covenant.”
Phil Swann, Executive Chair of Shared Intelligence, said: “Our research identified several ways of increasing awareness of the Covenant, including the role of trade bodies, supply chain relationships and mobilising the voice of the Armed Forces Community itself. The best ambassadors for the Covenant are businesses which have benefitted from delivering it.”
You can see a copy of the Executive Summary and full report here.
You can see the full report here.