The silver award to KCC under the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme has been presented to the council’s Armed Forces Champion, Richard Long, in a ceremony aboard HMS Victory.
The award to Kent – one of only two councils in the South East to receive it – came just six months after receiving the bronze award.
The citation was as follows: “Kent’s historic position in the frontline at times of national emergency has given it a unique relationship with the Armed Services. Kent County Council works hard to ensure that members of the Armed Services family suffer no disadvantage in receiving the wide range of services provided to its 1.5 million residents.
“It actively supports the Reservists, Veterans and Adult Cadet Volunteers it employs, trains front-line staff to meet the particular needs of the Armed Forces community and promotes the Armed Forces Champion model across the county.
“KCC has built excellent relationships with the military units, developed strong links with the service charities, and organised annual conferences including two specifically for Service children.”
Cllr Long said: “We were delighted that KCC’s support for the forces has been recognised in this very public way.
“As one of the largest employers in Kent and a very military friendly employer, we strongly support the employment of Reservists, service leavers and veterans. We are planning to develop further positive support to the recruitment of service spouses and partners in the months ahead.”
Canon Peter Bruinvels said: “This was great day and honour for Kent County Council and for the armed forces community in Kent.
“The Silver award demonstrates that we have a true working partnership with the armed forces family. Our Reservist employees at KCC are second to none and our Cadet Adult Volunteers are really appreciated by Kent cadets.
“Our many veterans are treated with respect in recognition for the sacrifices they made over so many years to keep Britain and Kent in particular safe and free. The challenge is now on for us to ‘go for gold’ and we are completely focused on it.”
To qualify for the Silver award, KCC had to:
- demonstrate support for service personnel issues and employ at least one member of the armed forces community
- actively communicate and uphold a positive stance to their employees via established HR policies and procedures
- show flexibility towards annual training commitments and mobilisation of reservist employees and support the employment of cadet instructors, armed forces veterans (including wounded, injured and sick) and military spouses/partners
- collect their certificate at the SERFCA silver awards ceremony on HMS Victory, receive silver logos to display and are themselves displayed on the list of Employer Recognition Scheme award winners – which they did on 6 September 2017
- must be nominated for a silver award by a third party sign the Armed Forces Covenant which they did in 2012
- employ at least one individual from the covenant category that the nomination emphasises.