The Armed Forces Bill

AFB 18

Written evidence from the Welsh Assembly Government

The Welsh Assembly Government welcomes the proposals to introduce and develop a Covenant Report. It is important that this is relevant to Armed Forces communities irrespective of where they live. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to an Armed Forces Covenant Report which recognises the Welsh Assembly Government's work to support the wider Armed Forces community in Wales. Any devolved issues are of course a matter for scrutiny by the National Assembly for Wales. Our position is based on an understanding that clause 2 of the Bill does not confer, remove nor modify any functions of the Welsh Ministers. We are not requesting any changes to the Bill as currently drafted.

My officials work regularly with the Ministry of Defence on these matters. We are represented on the Armed Forces External Reference Group overseeing the Covenant. Further to this, you may wish to note that I have set up and Chair an Expert Group on the

Needs of the Armed Forces Community in Wales of which taking forward the principles of the Covenant is an important aspect of its work. The Group is attended by Dr June Milligan, Director General for Public Service and Local Government Delivery, Welsh Assembly Government, in her capacity as Armed Forces Advocate for the Welsh Assembly Government, and has representation from the three Services, their Families Federations, Ministry of Defence and voluntary organisations which support the Forces community.

Carl Sargeant AM/AC

Minister for Social Justice and Local Government

16 February 2011