Published: Wednesday 4 August 2021

Cheshire Constabulary has gained national recognition for supporting the armed forces community.

The force has been granted Silver Award status as part of the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS).

The scheme was launched to reward employers who support Defence People objectives and inspire others to do the same.

This includes employing serving and former members of the armed forces community, and demonstrating flexibility towards training and mobilisation commitments for reservists and cadet force adult volunteers.

The scheme encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.

The ERS is designed primarily to recognise private sector support. However, public sector organisations such as the emergency services, local authorities, NHS trusts and executive agencies are also eligible to be recognised.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts said:

“I am delighted that the Constabulary’s commitment to our serving military personnel, reservists and veterans has been recognised.

“As Chief Constable, I want our force to be committed to supporting the military in every way we can, and I am also keen for us to be an employer of choice for those leaving the services.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer, added:

“I am extremely proud that the Constabulary has been awarded this accolade.

“It demonstrates the inclusivity of the force, and as the Chief Constable has said, it’s a commitment to helping those who have done everything and more for Queen and country.”

To achieve Silver Award status, employers:

  • must have signed the Armed Forces Covenant
  • must have already stated their intent to be supportive by using the ERS website to register at the bronze level
  • must proactively demonstrate that service personnel/members of the armed forces community are not unfairly disadvantaged as part of their recruiting and selection processes
  • should employ at least one individual from the Armed Forces Covenant category that the nomination emphasises. For example, an employer nominated for support to the reserves must employ at least one reservist. In exceptional circumstances, where there is outstanding generic support for the armed forces community and/or the size or business model of the organisation makes employment of such an individual impossible, the organisation can be considered for the award when they do not employ someone from the Armed Forces Covenant category
  • must actively ensure that their workforce is aware of their positive policies towards Defence People issues. For example, an employer nominated for support for the reserves must have an internally publicised and positive HR policy on reserves
  • within the context of reserves, must have demonstrated support to mobilisations, or have a framework in place. They must demonstrate support to training by providing at least five days of additional unpaid/paid leave wherever possible (not to the reservist employees’ financial disadvantage)
  • must not have been the subject of any negative PR or media activity.

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Chief Constable Roberts added:

“I look forward to redoubling our efforts this year, and with the Olympics on at the moment it seems a timely time to say that we will certainly be going for gold.”

Leo Docherty, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, said:

“I would like to thank all the organisations who have proven their support for the defence community during such unprecedented and challenging times.

“The vast range of those recognised this year (as part of the Employer Recognition Scheme) demonstrates how employing the armed forces community makes a truly positive and beneficial impact for all employers, regardless of size, sector or location.”

Vicky Doran, Regional Employer Engagement Director at the North West of England and the Isle of Man Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (NW RFCA), added:

“On behalf of the Ministry of Defence, we are honoured to be able to recognise the support and commitment given to the Armed Forces Covenant by employers in the region, through the Employer Recognition Scheme awards.

“Each recipient has demonstrated not only that they support the covenant and the armed forces community, but also that they are prepared to support their reservists, service leavers, veterans and cadet force adult volunteers in the workplace.”