Providing scrutiny and supportive challenge to policy makers and those providing services to veterans is an important aspect of my role. When I started as Scottish Veterans Commissioner in September 2018, a fundamental question I wanted an answer to was – how were we doing? What was the status of the 63 recommendations my predecessor made across four key reports?
That the Scottish Government accepted all the recommendations from these reports reflects their commitment to supporting veterans and their families. With the first report on Transition published in 2015 and the most recent, the Health and Wellbeing Report in 2018, the time was right to take stock of progress made in implementing those recommendations and examining what still needed to be done.
I requested a status report against all the recommendations from the Scottish Government, and used the facts supplied, together with my own knowledge and some further enquiries to assess and rate progress in the delivery of each recommendation. I used a standard traffic lights RAG (Red, Amber, Green) scale to rate progress. I modified this slightly to reflect the need to see delivery embedded in areas where I felt there was a risk of progress sliding back.
|Implemented but work should continue to embed|
My first assessment took place in early 2019, with my electronic Progress Report publishing in June. I will be producing an independent Progress Report annually and in 2020, moved the timing towards the autumn, to coincide with the Scottish Government’s annual report to Parliament on Support for the Veterans and Armed Forces Community. My aim is to provide an independent and impactful visual of overall progress that supports scrutiny and debate around delivery of my recommendations.