According to an independent assessment published by the Scottish Veterans Commissioner progress on supporting veterans in Scotland is to be applauded but there is more to do to ensure our veterans continue to receive the best possible levels of support and the services they need…

The 63 recommendations made by the Scottish Veterans Commissioner’s office across four in-depth reports published over the last four years – covering transition; housing; employability, skills and learning and health and wellbeing – were adopted wholesale by the Scottish Government.

This assessment provides up-dates on the current status of these recommendations. A standard RAG (red, amber, green) rating, based on the Commissioner’s evaluation of progress, has then been applied to produce a ‘snap-shot’ report on how well government is doing against each recommendation.

By monitoring and regularly reporting progress by government and partners, the Commissioner aims to maintain focus on the recommendations, aid prioritisation and drive delivery to ensure our veterans receive the best possible levels of support.

Overall this first report tells a positive story of improvement but also shines a light on specific areas where increased effort may well be needed. This includes setting up a national managed clinical network to have oversight of healthcare delivery for veterans; ensuring we enable informed choice, as well as support in areas of employment and skills development; and further work on improving the overall Transition journey from military to civilian life.

Charlie Wallace, the Scottish Veterans Commissioner, said: “My predecessor Eric Fraser’s four reports, really got to the heart of the main areas of concern for the veterans community in Scotland and are acting as a catalyst for change. I want to build on that success and bring supportive challenge to the specific issues that remain or are evolving. To do that effectively, we need to know exactly ‘how we’re doing’ and be open and honest about the challenges that remain.

“Across the board the report clearly demonstrates significant progress.  The headway made is extremely encouraging and we should take the time to acknowledge that success and the considerable effort of all those involved. That not only includes partners in public sector but also the third sector which plays a hugely significant role in supporting our veterans’ community.

“If Scotland is truly to be the ‘destination of choice for service leavers’ it’s important that we keep up the momentum. Some recommendations, particularly those requiring a joined-up approach to thinking and delivery, stand out as most challenging.  Scottish Government Ministers recognise this and have been very clear with me on their commitment to move these forward.”

The Commissioner will also be engaging in emerging developments, including the output from the recent consultation on the 10 year Strategy for Our Veterans, where veterans, their families and representative bodies have engaged in the discussion on how best to deliver in Scotland to ensure the needs of an evolving Armed Forces and ex-service community are met.

The recommendations and progress against them can be viewed here.