The Military Covenant

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Mr_Logic, Jan 4, 2007.

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  1. As the Military Covenant has been mentioned in the news in the last 24 hrs, I thought perhaps it pertinent to post it here for the benefit of all and sundry; serving, retired, walts, journos, etc. It is a paragraph from ADP Land Ops.

    The whole chapter makes interesting reading but given the current coverage the paragraph on loyalty is also pertinent.

  2. did bliar write this? i only ask because a covenant is defined as:

    covenant. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved January 04, 2007, from website:

    so a covenant IS a contract, they just don't want to sign up to it formally, otherwise they'd actually be accountable everytime they fcuk up

  3. Can you imagine applying even an eighth of this to the respect that this Government really gives to us Fact is that we remain political tools.
  4. I think the extract from ADP Land Ops are wise, noble words. I just suspect that we all feel that it is a one way street when it comes to government support of the forces in the way of pay and conditions. That is probaly why we have such a retention problem, news coverage of poor accommodation and senior people beginning to speak publicly.

    I also wante to make sure we al knew what we were talking about. When I grew up a covenant was something that Indiana Jones dug up in Egypt and used to make Nazis heads melt and explode. That could have been confusing for some, couldn't it?
  5. The covenent on leadership:

    An accurate description of bliar, des browne and many of the military hierarchy...thought not
  6. Crown servants of all ranks are in law the servants of the Crown and not of one another. A crown servant has therefore no contractual rights against his department, his minister or any of his superior officers. Whoever engages him acts merely as the Crown agent and his contract of employment is directly between himself and the Crown. However, Military service is not contractual at all. This was stated clearly by lord Esther in 1890:

    "The law is as clear as it can be...that all engagements between those in the military service of the Crown are voluntary only on the part of the Crown and give no occasion for an action in respect of any alleged contract...the courts of law have noting to do with such a matter.."

    (Source Part II Wade: Administrative Law Eight edition [2000] Oxsford University Press)

    Some may recall that because of the activities of Andy McNab and others who made a lucrative living out of disclosure of operations while serving the MOD sought to compel all serving members of the British Special Forces a contractual condition upon it's members that they would sign a contractual provision binding them to silence and a refusal to sign would result in an immediate return to their parent regiments. The case was brought under the law of contract which would have made such a condition invalid under contract law. However, the case was thrown out of court since normal contractual rules did not apply to Crown Servants.

    Thus, although called a 'covenant' which has legal definitional force, such contractual principles do not apply to the Armed Forces unless specifically exempted by statute. In other words, whatever title is given, whether it be 'covenant' or 'trust', its prima facie legal title does not invest it with the legal forceas against a Crown Servant that it's title would suggest would apply to a layman.

    Thus it is that although your UK Passport will refer to you as a 'Citizen', the reality of your status as a 'Subject' person concealed beneath the label is only revealed as a demonstrable fact when you begin to dig beneath the surface to lay bare examples such as this one.

    It is an example of form over substance and, as I mentioned on another thread, the careful wording of the covenant is a marketing tool which connotes the existence of a mutuality of obligation whereas in reality, none exists, or at least none that is enforceable at the suit of the individual who seeks to rely on it.

    Regards and best wishes
  7. Do the other parts of the Armed Forces enjoy(?) such a contract? Do the Police have one? Although I suspect their's is deemed a lost cause now...... :roll:
  8. Thank you for your question. It would appear to relate to both the Armed Forces and to the Police.

    Dealing first with the Armed Forces. In my previous post I alluded to the fact that its members remain Crown Servants and have few, if any, contractual rights except for those which are expressly provided by statute.

    Various provisions of the Employment Rights Act have been expressly applied to them enforceable at private rather than public law.. These include written particulars, ante natal care, suspension on medical and maternity grounds, rights to maternity leave or absence, written reasons for dismissal, the Sex Discrimination Act, Equal Pay Act and Race Relations Act also apply, but nothing is to be rendered unlawful f it was done for the a purpose of ensuring combat effectiveness.

    Although there is a general rule that a member of the Armed Forces should go through service redress procedures before complaining to an employment tribunal, this is no longer always so, see Race Relations (Complaints to Employment Tribunals)(Armed Forces) Regulations 1977 and Sex Discrimination (Complaints to Employment Tribunals)(Armed Forces) Regulations 1977.

    As for the Police, they are in an even more tenuous position than are members of the Armed Forces and have very few employment rights. Thus, they are not entitled to an itemised pay statement, guaranteed pay, rights under the Working Time Regulations, protection for employees representatives, rights in protected disclosure cases, leave for domestic reasons, time off work for public duties, time off work as an employee representative, suspension from work on medical or maternity grounds, right to return to work after childbirth, written reasons for dismissal and unfair dismissal (except in health and safety cases), even in respect of conduct which occurs when he is not exercising privileges or powers of a constable: Home Office v Robinson [1982] ICR 31. Nor can a Policeman claim for unlawful deductions from his wages: Metropolitan Police Commissioner v Lowrey-Nesbitt [1999] ICR 401 EAT. A Policeman does have the right to have written particulars of his terms and conditions of employment, minimum periods of notice and redundancy pay.

    He is, under s17 Sex Discrimination Act deemed to be employed by the Chief Constable or under s16 Race Relations Act, the Police Authority for any act done by him, or the authority in relation to discrimination in employment, but not acts committed outside of it: Water v Metropolitan Police Commissioner [1995 ICR 510. The Police (Health and Safety) Act 1997 applies the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to holders of the Office of Constable (ie, all policemen) even thought they are not employed under a contract of employment and the Police Federation is to be treated as a recognised trade union for the purpose of appointing and consultation with safety representatives.

    A Policeman may face a specific disciplinary offence of failing to discharge a lawful debt (ie, he forgets to pay his phone or utility bill) and, recently the government enacted a provision to make his disciplinary proceedings open to the public.

    Thus, as far as a Policeman is concerned, those who like 'bashing the Police' should bear in mind that in their employment, they have far more burdens than enjoyed benefits.

    I hope this addresses your questions

    (Source Chap 2 Selwyn's Law of Employment 12th Edition [2002] Butterworth/Nexis)

    Regards and best wishes to you
  9. Regardless of the legal status of such an idea, it saddens me to think how far from this ideal we have drifted when it comes to dealing with Her Majesty's Government. Be it legal or not, there is nothing in that text that shouldn't be given freely and without reservation as the bare minimum to those who would sacrifice so much for their country.

    Or perhaps this only applies if the cause is 'just'. Perhaps as we wander onto more dodgy political and legal ground, the expectations of that which is granted to the Armed Forces in return are also diminished with it.
  10. Hate to point it out, but the Forces always have been and always will be, unless they overthrow the government!
  11. OK that may be a step too far!!
  12. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    I've been thinking about this covenant, with regard to the various stories in the media recently - accomodation, alleged shortages of equipment, the Brig/Col spat, etc.

    My problem with this 'covenant' is simple - it appear to have been written entirely by one side - the Army - with absolutely no consultation, input, or comment, from the other. I know it speaks of an agreement between three parties - Army, Soldier and Nation - but who speaks as the 'Nation' part of this? Surely - like it or not - that can only be HMG. And I don't see Tony's signature anywhere (Or Mr Major, Mrs Thatcher, Mr Callaghan, etc).

    This indicates to me that it is neither a contract nor a covenant, but more a 'credo' or statement of belief, from one side only, showing what it expects from the other, and what it intends to do.

    In other words, don't get too hung up about it, as it really cannot be said to have any real validity unless agreed to by all parties - and this does not appear to be the case.
  13. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    OldSnowy has hit the nail on the head. The 'military covenant' describes what the situation ought to be, but the reality is different. We should make a point of asking politicians of all parties to sign up to it and include it in political manifestos, alongside their commitments to the NHS, education etc.

    Perhaps this should be a BAFF campaign?
  14. Strikes me this 'covenant' marlarky is a bit of 'politically correct corporate speak' possibly written with the best of intentiond by a Staff department whose boss was tipping for a medal of some sort.

    In itself it is not a bad bit of prose which tries to put into word the 'gentlemans agreement' that should exist between service people and the country.

    Its a military version of the agreement of the trust between employer and employee in civilian life. That can be a basis for constructive dismissal if the employer creates an intolerable situation which causes the employee to leave his employment against their will.

    Decent and fair treatment is essential in any job but especially in a volunteer army so statements in the covenant such as this are only stating the obvious:

    So, at the very least, British soldiers should always be able to expect the Nation, and their commanders, to treat them fairly, to value and respect them as individuals, and to sustain and reward them and their families with appropriate terms and conditions of service. This mutual obligation etc

    I am with CPunk this should be a should be a BAFF campaign and the basic principles of Employment Law should be entered into the military. FFS this is the 21st Century!