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Award recognises council's support for armed forces

27 August 2019

The Ministry of Defence has given Norfolk County Council a silver award, for its work in supporting members of the armed forces.

The award is from the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme and follows a series of initiatives from the county council.

Council leader, Councillor Andrew Proctor, said: “We are immensely proud to receive this award, in recognition of the support we give to the armed forces community, both as an employer and an organisation delivering services across Norfolk.

“Former serving personnel are highly trained, very committed and they bring a broad range of skills to civilian roles.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "These awards recognise the outstanding support for our armed forces from employers across Britain and I would like to thank and congratulate each and every one.

“Regardless of size, location or sector, employing ex-forces personnel is good for business and this year we have doubled the number of awards' in recognition of the fantastic support they give.”

The Council signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2012 and currently employs 25 veterans, 11 military spouses and one reserve. Its initiatives include:

  • Actively encouraging members of the armed forces community to apply for jobs, through the council’s Guaranteed Interview Scheme
  • Flexible working policies, which enable our armed forces staff to manage their working hours around the needs of the business and to meet the demands of service and family life
  • An additional 10 days paid leave for reservists, to enable them to train and attend their regiment’s annual camp.  Arrangements are in place to allow reserves to join operations as requested by the MOD.

Case studies

Captain Sam Hodgson left the British Army in 2018 and became Norfolk County Council’s hub project manager for the “Unlocking our Sound Heritage” project in the Norfolk Record Office. He then became a reserve.

He said: “Being a reservist allows me to continue my service. I enjoy doing it.”

The Council’s policy of giving reserves additional paid leave enabled Sam to attend the regiment’s arduous training exercise in Austria earlier this year.

He said: “These types of training exercises are a fantastic tool to challenge reservists, putting them outside of their normal comfort zones in challenging conditions; allowing individuals to find and employ communications and leadership skills that many would not use within their civilian lives. The value of these transferable skills to civilian employers should not be understated.”

Group Captain Andrew Stewart, Norfolk County Council's head of intelligence and analytics, said: “The transition to working in local government has been easy and really rewarding. I have drawn extensively on my leadership and management experiences, which have been highly valued and applicable to the work I am responsible for. I have used my knowledge in the professional development of my team and others across NCC. Every day brings new challenges and opportunities to apply the skills I developed whilst in the MOD.”

Squadron Warrant Officer Danny Corby, Norfolk County Council resilience officer, said: “I felt at a disadvantage coming out of the armed forces, and I knew the council’s Guaranteed Interview Scheme would only guarantee me an interview if I met the job criteria. Thankfully, I did, and I was offered the job”.

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