The first duty of Government is the defence of the realm. Our Armed Forces fulfil that responsibility on behalf of the Government, sacrificing some civilian freedoms, facing danger and, sometimes, suffering serious injury or death as a result of their duty. Families also play a vital role in supporting the operational effectiveness of our Armed Forces. In return, the whole nation has a moral obligation to the members of the Naval Service, the Army and the Royal Air Force, together with their families. They deserve our respect and support, and fair treatment.
Those who serve in the Armed Forces, whether Regular or Reserve, those who have served in the past, and their families, should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services. Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most such as the injured and the bereaved.
This obligation involves the whole of society: it includes voluntary and charitable bodies, private organisations, and the actions of individuals in supporting the Armed Forces. Recognising those who have performed military duty unites the country and demonstrates the value of their contribution. This has no greater expression than in upholding this Covenant.
1.1 We, the University of Exeter, will endeavour in our business dealings to uphold the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant, which are:
- no member of the Armed Forces Community should face a disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen
- in some circumstances, special treatment may be appropriate especially for the injured or bereaved.
2.1 The University of Exeter recognises the value serving personnel, reservists, veterans and military families bring to our business. We will seek to uphold the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant, by:
- Supporting the Military Education Committee in its oversight of military education, promoting community engagement, high-quality student experience and employability from the University Service Units.
- Supporting the Army’s Exeter University Officers’ Training Corps and Devon University Royal Navy Unit which provide experience to students which are highly valued by employers and, in many cases, leads to students entering the regular and reserve forces after they graduate and start work. We will support the USUs’ participation in Freshers’ Week; working closely with the OTC to ensure training and academic commitments do not impact on and to support student wellbeing.
- Promoting careers in the armed forces as part of our student employability initiatives.
- Through our participation in the UNSWIS network, providing short-term work experience opportunities for Service personnel who are sick, wounded or injured and who are being or have been medically discharged.
- Offering flexibility on annual leave for partners of Service personnel before, during and after their partner’s deployment: subject to operational requirements, the University will seek to provide flexibility on the timing of annual leave for staff who are partners of Service personnel before, during and after their partner’s deployment. The University will consider allowing the employee to take an extended period of leave (from their standard annual entitlement) and/or allow leave to be carried forward into the following year or brought forward from the following year.
- Supporting employees who are members of the Reserve Forces and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers by accommodating their military training and deployment and their career development: the University will grant an additional week of paid leave to staff who are required to attend summer camps for training as a Reservist of the Armed Forces. Subject to operational requirements (and its statutory duties), the University will seek to facilitate a Reservist’s mobilisation and actively support the Reservist’s return to work at the end of their deployment. Members of the Reserve Forces and their managers are encouraged to use the annual Performance and Development review to explore how the employee’s military experience can be effectively applied in their work.
- Promoting the fact that we are an Armed Forces-friendly organisation by publicising our covenant on our website and displaying the covenant logo.
2.2 We will publicise these commitments through our literature and/or on our website, setting out how we will seek to honour them and inviting feedback from the Service community and our customers on how we are doing.