Northamptonshire County Council is among three local businesses who have achieved a Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold award for actively demonstrating their support and advocacy for the Armed Forces community.
The organisations include NHS Northants Clinical Commissioning Group; Northamptonshire County Council and Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and are part of a record 17 Gold ERS awards across the East Midlands this year.
Under the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, employers support Defence personnel and encourage others to do the same. The Scheme has three levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold for organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support for Defence and the Armed Forces community. To achieve Gold, organisations must demonstrate that they provide ten extra paid days leave for Reserves and have supportive HR policies in place for Veteran, Reserves, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, and spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces.
Northamptonshire County Council Cabinet Member for Corporate and Community Services, Cllr Sandra Naden-Horley, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and we are delighted to have been recognised by the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme and honoured with such a unique award.
“Here at Northamptonshire County Council we pride ourselves on promoting equality and diversity, and strive to create an inclusive and auspicious work environment across the organisation. We are proud to support the Armed Forces community and value the hard work and exceptional skills our Armed Forces’ colleagues bring to the county council.”
Johnny Mercer, Minister for Defence People and Veterans said: “The breadth and diversity of the winners this year shows how business support for the Armed Forces continues to grow no matter the sector, company size or location. I am grateful for the positive attitude and flexible policies these organisations have adapted towards the defence community, which is testament to the fantastic contribution our serving personnel, veterans and their families can make to any organisation. I am delighted that so many companies are supporting our people and that, through this scheme, we can give them the public recognition they deserve.”
Cat Suckling, the Ministry of Defence’s Assistant Regional Employer Engagement Director for the East Midlands, said: “I’m thrilled that we can announce a record number of Gold award winners for the region. I know all of these organisations have worked hard to support Defence objectives and they are all very worthy winners.”
2020 marks the seventh year of the awards scheme and this year 47% of winners across the UK are either Micro organisations or SMEs, while 38% are public organisations. This demonstrates both the growth in numbers and the depth of supportive employers who cover a wide range of sectors and company size. This year’s 127 award winners join a group of 226 winners from previous years bringing the total to 353 organisations who can share their knowledge and experience on the benefits of employing those from the Armed Forces community.