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The importance of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Armed Forces Champions

Scullion, Lisa; Pardoe, Joe; Martin, Philip; Young, David; Hynes, Celia


Joe Pardoe

Celia Hynes


Introduction In 2010, as part of its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) introduced the role of dedicated Armed Forces Champion (AFC), an initiative that was augmented in 2021. The purpose of this briefing paper is to provide an evidence-based overview of the positive impact of the support being provided to veterans by DWP AFCs. Overall, we are advocating for the permanency of the AFC role and highlight where challenges remain that could be addressed with more focused resources. The evidence is drawn from the Sanctions, Support and Service Leavers project, a six-year study into veterans' experiences of the benefits system carried out by the University of Salford and funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT). This Briefing Paper brings together the experiences of both veterans and DWP AFCs who were consulted in the project. Key findings ȫ Veterans (and their families) can face significant challenges navigating the benefits system and often require support and guidance to access entitlements and avoid negative outcomes. ȫ The DWP AFCs are providing significant support to veterans, particularly those who have complex needs. This includes supporting with accessing benefits, managing ongoing claims, benefits assessments (e.g., where veterans have disabilities/health conditions), accessing employment opportunities and linking veterans with relevant external stakeholders. ȫ The person-centred support provided by the DWP AFCs fits with the DWP's current important efforts to integrate trauma-informed approaches. ȫ Challenges and inconsistencies in the role were highlighted and relate to: the DWP AFC role being based on year-on-year resource considerations; transiency of staff in DWP AFC roles; lack of awareness about the role within the DWP; gaps in geographical coverage; and increasing demand for DWP AFC support-all of which could be addressed through more sustainable provision. To maintain the important support provided by the DWP AFCs and meet an ever-increasing demand, we make three key recommendations: Recommendation 1: The DWP AFC role should be permanently embedded within the DWP with sustainable resourcing. The year-on-year resourcing model of the DWP AFCs has created uncertainty for both AFCs and external partners. It also acts as a barrier to providing a more consistent support offer. Recommendation 2: The DWP should review the DWP AFC network to ensure that a consistent support offer is available in all areas. The demand for the DWP AFC support has been increasing since the enhancement of the role and the introduction of the Armed Forces marker on Universal Credit (UC). Recommendation 3: The DWP should review the growing demand for DWP AFC support and identify what additional resources are required to meet that demand.


Scullion, L., Pardoe, J., Martin, P., Young, D., & Hynes, C. (2024). The importance of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Armed Forces Champions. DWP

Report Type Confidential Report
Publication Date 2024-02
Deposit Date May 14, 2024
Keywords welfare, veterans, military, benefits