County lands award for armed forces staff protocol
Monday, 28 July 2014
Hampshire County Council has received a special award from the Ministry of Defence for its support of the Reserves Forces.
County Councillor Roger Huxstep went on board HMS Victory in Portsmouth to receive the employers’ award from the Lord Lieutenant Dame Mary Fagan and Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock, Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Personnel) and the Naval Secretary.
The special award acknowledges the positive support Hampshire County Council gives to staff who are reservists in their spare time.
Councillor Keith Mans, who is the County Council's Armed Forces Champion, said: "There are real benefits for employers and that's why we're pleased to support the national recruitment efforts to boost the Reserves Forces. For staff undertaking these part-time paid roles, it can help them gain new skills, embark on new experiences and develop new strengths such as leadership and team work that can help them in their day job.
"We've put in place a protocol to positively support staff who are reservists in their spare time and this includes additional paid leave each year to attend military training, a flexible working policy to assist with military commitments and management support in preparation for, during and after mobilisation. I was pleased to learn that the Cabinet Office is sharing this as a good example with other Councils who have signed up to the Community Covenant."
The award was organised by South East Reserves Forces' and Cadets' Association and the MoD Campaign SaBRE (Supporting Britain's Reservists and Employers).
Last month Hampshire County Council joined forces with one of the largest naval reserve units in the country as part of a national campaign to revitalise the reserve forces. The Council is working with HMS King Alfred in Portsmouth to help it meet its target to boost its numbers by 50 per cent.
One of the reservists based at HMS King Alfred is Keith Whitehead, a Chartered Building Surveyor working for Hampshire County Council's Property Services. He has been a member of the Royal Naval Reserve for 29 years. "I joined the Royal Naval Reserve at a time when the Cold War was still very much in the public eye. One of my motivations was to learn more about the sea and be part of the armed forces doing a worthwhile job. I have undertaken a variety of roles in the RNR all of which I have found rewarding and interesting. The management skills and training I have gained with the Reserves have readily transferred across into my civilian role. Hampshire County Council has fully supported my service and training commitment with the Maritime Reserve," he said.
Gary Hedges is a Principal Engineer, managing highway schemes for the County Council in south and west Hampshire. He has been in the Territorial Army or TA for 12 years. "I joined the TA almost straight after leaving the Regular Army because I wanted to settle in one place but still enjoyed the variety of challenges and the camaraderie that the armed forces offer. The management and leadership training and that the forces offer is second to none and my employer was more than happy to accommodate my forces training as it saved them sending me on management courses," he said.