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Council wins national award for its work with the armed forces

19 July 2021

Norfolk County Council has been recognised for its outstanding support of the armed forces community in Norfolk, following an announcement from the Ministry of Defence.

The local authority has been given the Gold Award, the highest honour handed out through the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.

The award is given to organisations that employ and support those who serve in the armed forces, service leavers, veterans and their families.

Andrew Proctor, Leader of Norfolk County Council said: “We are incredibly proud to receive this award in recognition of the support we give to the armed forces community in Norfolk. Our county has a strong connection to the military so it is only right that we do everything we can to honour their service.”

Sarah Shirtcliff, Director for People at Norfolk County Council said: "As an employer of veterans, military spouses, partners and reservists, we know huge benefits that former serving personnel are bringing in the civilian roles at the Council. Their skills, expertise and commitment have been a real strength over this last 18 months and it's of huge value to us to actively encourage their employment.”

The Gold Award also acknowledges the Council’s partnership working through the Norfolk Armed Forces Covenant Board. 

This includes successfully addressing a significant gap in the dental service provision in the West of the County. It negotiated with the Ministry of Defence and NHS England, to ensure the opening of a new dental practice for serving and civilian families at RAF Marham and the surrounding area.

The Council also worked with the military family federations and with schools that have high numbers of service pupils to develop the Norfolk Service Pupil Premium booklet. 

The Council has a strong track record of supporting people who are ex-service personnel into employment. The council offers a Guaranteed Interview Scheme that offers a chance to interview to any ex-military where they meet the minimum job criteria. 

Further opportunities to meet with other employees are then available through the Staff Armed Forces Network. Earlier this year a Buddy Scheme was introduced for veterans, spouses, partners and family members. It enables them to talk to an existing employee, who has transitioned from service life into civilian life, and can help them settle into their new role at the Council.

Read more about the Norfolk Armed Forces Covenant and the ways Norfolk County Council supports the armed forces into employed.

Read more about the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.

Staff case study: Charlie Carter

Many will know him as Captain Charlie Carter of the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards. He served for 9 years in the British Army and was deployed around the world in Germany, Kenya, Norway, the USA and Afghanistan.

Throughout the pandemic the Army was called on across the nation to support the local Covid-19 response.

Whilst still serving, Charlie was drafted in to help with procurement planning, and helped volunteers and charity organisations to provide support to the NHS.

He then took a job directly with the council in October last year, helping to coordinate work with the other agencies in Norfolk.

He secured an interview through our ‘Guaranteed Interview Scheme’ which gives ex-service personnel who meet the essential job criteria a chance to interview for the role they applied for.

Reflecting on his move from a military career to a civilian role, Charlie said: “I found the transition from the military to civilian employment surprisingly easy. Aspects of military reconnaissance training like assimilating information, owning risks and enabling senior officers to make decisions mapped directly to resilience planning.

"A number of my colleagues are also ex-forces which adds to the camaraderie. We share a similar sense of humour and a desire to get things done. I’m really enjoying working for the council, this was definitely the right decision for me.”

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