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The Office For Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Strategy Action Plan

By Adam Marchant-Wincott

It’s easy to be dismissive about government at the present time but I had a reminder yesterday that despite the shenanigans going on in No10, some departments are still working very hard in the pursuit of their objectives.    

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs is one such place. The stated aim of the OVA is to “lead UK Government efforts to make sure the United Kingdom is the best place to be a veteran anywhere in the world (by 2028), helping the nation fulfil its lifelong duty to those who have served in the Armed Forces”.  That’s quite a vision and, as a veteran, I am grateful. 

As part of realising this ambition, if you haven’t seen it, there’s a Veterans Strategy Action plan which has six so called ‘focal points for success’:  


  • Delivering a step-change in support for veterans and their families. 
  • Delivering a step-change in support. 
  • Maximising veteran employability.  
  • Addressing historic hurt or disadvantage.  
  • Dealing with the legacy from historic operations.  
  • Ensuring a high standard of support across the UK. 

Focusing on point 3 – Maximising veteran employability - The opening gambit on Page 21 of the strategy states – “Stable long-term employment opportunities after service are the foundation of positive life outcomes for veterans” and then goes on to list a series of initiatives that will support the community to realise the goal of stable employment. The following is just a snapshot but worth highlighting: 

12 month National Insurance contribution holiday for employers – if you’re a service leaver going for interview you can tell your employer that if they chose to employ you they will be able to reclaim the Employers National Insurance Contribution (a value equivalent to 15% of your salary). A significant saving, especially for smaller employers.  

30,000 Veterans Railcards – if you haven’t got one you really should, especially if this makes regular train travel a more affordable option for work. A veterans railcard gives you a 30% saving on the regular rail fare.  

Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) and the Armed Forces Covenant) for organisations that demonstrate exceptional support for the Armed Forces community).  If you’re researching an organisation with a view to applying for an opportunity, it’s worth checking if they’re an Armed Forces Covenant signatory and a ERS bronze, silver or gold award holder. There are currently a little only 9000 companies that are signatories, a relatively small percentage of the overall total of businesses in the UK, but worth checking. Chances are veterans will work in the organization.  

Great Place to Work for Veterans - guaranteed progression scheme to all departments of the civil service, including Senior Civil Servant (SCS) level roles. The Cabinet Office will remove employment barriers for those veterans who face more challenges finding employment through the Going Forward into Employment scheme which will provide direct placement opportunities for veterans within the Civil Service. Military partners/spouses will also be eligible for this scheme. 

My final thought. I’d be surprised if there’s anybody out there that would contend the OVA’s ambition, to make sure the United Kingdom is the best place to be a veteran anywhere in the world, but in order to fully realise it, it falls to every veteran to play their part, to make a contribution, in however small a way – a theme for a future blog, I think.  

If you’re a serving or veteran RN, RM or RFA or a dependent and looking for employment or employment transition support please do contact us for assistance. Employment Services - The White Ensign Association