Essex County Council was criticised in the House of Commons today for falling down on its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant to which it is a signatory.
The criticism came from MP Sir Bob Russell who represents the Garrison Town of Colchester and is a member of the Defence Select Committee.
Sir Bob, who served on the Armed Forces Bill which brought in the Covenant, said that last week he was contacted by a military family who had recently been transferred to Colchester from another part of the country – but Conservative-led Essex County Council had refused to continue the care package for a child in the family which had been provided by the local authority where the family had lived previously.
Sir Bob said that the terms of the Covenant, to which Essex County Council had signed up to, should have led to a seamless transfer of the care package. Instead, Essex had refused to accept the package, insisted that the family went through the whole process again, and then rejected the application.
The matter has since been referred by Sir Bob to the Chief Executive of Essex County Council.
Sir Bob said: “I am sure that the intention of Essex County Council is to honour the Armed Forces Covenant. Sadly, somewhere down the line not all officials making decisions are aware of the Covenant and what the Council has signed up to. I trust that, on reflection, Essex County Council will agree to continue with the care package which the military family recently moved to Colchester had when they lived in another part of the country.”