Surrey County Council is today recognised for its support for the armed forces with a coveted Gold Award from the Ministry of Defence.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced that Surrey is among the first councils nationally to receive the highest award under the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.
The scheme rewards employers who actively support and promote the interests of former servicemen and women and their families as well as members of the reserve forces. Surrey employs 25 reservists and many veterans.
Surrey County Council leader David Hodge, who served in the British Army for 22 years, said: “Following 22 years of service in the armed forces I am acutely aware of the value and contribution that servicemen and women can make to an organisation.
“Our reservists and ex-servicemen and women within the organisation stand as an example and inspiration to others through their commitment to public service. The transferable skills, training and experience that each bring makes a decisive contribution to Surrey’s success.
“I’m keen that through the Gold Award Surrey County Council should serve as an example to other organisations and businesses across the county and more widely, as each day we demonstrate the value of this approach.”
The council helps former military personnel into jobs through schemes such as offering work experience placements, raising awareness of vacancies and promoting their transferable skills to local employers. It also offers flexible leave arrangements for reservists and cadet instructors.
The approach is part of the council’s work to fulfil the Armed Forces Covenant – a promise signed in 2012 to treat current and former service personnel and their families fairly.
The Surrey Civilian Military Partnership helps put the covenant into action and has introduced a range of initiatives including designating Armed Forces Champions for each of the county’s 11 district and borough councils.
Across the county, there are more than 6,000 serving military personnel, more than 250 active reservists, 2,450 cadets and tens of thousands of veterans.
Sally Marks, Chairman of Surrey County Council Chairman and Chairman of the Surrey Civilian Military Partnership Board, said: “It’s a great honour for Surrey County Council to be selected for the Gold Award and a tribute to the commitment of all our partners in the Surrey Civilian Military Partnership.”
To interview an armed forces veteran or reservist working for the council, please contact the press office on 020 8541 7259.