Help for Heroes is calling upon the UK Government to extend the statutory powers of the Armed Forces Covenant so that its legal duty covers national and devolved governments and all areas of public policy including social care, employment, pensions, compensation, and immigration.

Currently only some public bodies, most notably local authorities, have a legal duty to consider the Armed Forces Covenant when making decisions and this duty only covers health, education, and housing.

Why do they need more power?

The Armed Forces Act 2021 puts the promise of the Covenant on a legal footing for the first time. However, while the majority of the public believe it is the responsibility of national government to deliver, the UK Government has exempted itself from the new duty to give due regard to the Covenant in decision-making and policy development. Instead, only some limited public bodies (mainly local councils) are subject to the new duty.

This cannot be right when responsibility for many of the issues concerning our Armed Forces community rests with national government.

We believe that national government should be brought within the scope of the new legal duty and that the full range of policy areas protected by the Covenant should be extended to include all issues affecting the Armed Forces community, including social care, employment, pensions, compensation, and immigration. The power to do so already exists within this legislation and it is within the power of the Secretary of State for Defence to enact.

What we’re doing

  • As a military charity, we have consistently maintained that the Covenant should be strengthened as much as possible in law. As such, we have been involved in various levels of consultation conducted by the Ministry of Defence throughout the development of the legislation since early 2020.
  • In 2023, we included this ask as one of our top priorities for veterans at the next General Election.
  • We have also met with MPs and officials from numerous political parties in support of extending the Armed Forces Act 2021.
  • We have also established regular dialogue with key officials to further improve the Armed Forces Covenant through secondary legislation and shape the Office for Veterans’ Affairs research priorities on the Armed Forces Community.

Get involved in this campaign

You can help support this campaign and help veterans by encouraging you employer and other business in your area to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant – if they haven’t already. You can find out which organisations have signed up and write to any businesses you know who haven’t.

If you want more information on this campaign, please contact our Senior Public Affairs and Policy Manager Ted Arnold at