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Veterans Commissioner for Wales

Volume 709: debated on Tuesday 1 March 2022

The Minister for Defence People and Veterans and I are pleased to inform the House that the Government have appointed Colonel James Phillips as the first ever Veterans Commissioner for Wales.

The commissioner will act as an ambassador for veterans across all areas of Wales and will play a key role in making the United Kingdom the best place in the world to be a veteran. The role will build on the success of counterpart roles in Scotland and Northern Ireland and will mean that all devolved nations have a Veterans’ Commissioner.

Colonel James Phillips has just completed his own transition to civilian life after 33 years in the Army. He has served in Germany, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. He has commanded soldiers, sailors and air personnel and worked in NATO, MOD, joint and Army headquarters.

Colonel James Phillips will take up the role as soon as possible after 1 April 2022.

The strategic objective of the Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales will be to improve outcomes for veterans, their families and armed forces families across Wales, building on the significant work already undertaken by the UK Government and within the Welsh Government’s devolved responsibilities. They will work with existing networks and Welsh Government governance structures supporting existing work to deliver the UK Government strategy for our veterans. A fundamental element of this role will be to engage with veterans and their families, listen to their needs and aspirations, and identify any need for positive change, encourage and share areas of good practice communicating these to both the UK and Welsh Governments.

The responsibilities of the Veterans Commissioner for Wales will be:

To listen to and understand the issues and barriers affecting veterans and their families, and using the information to influence improvement in services;

To improve outcomes for veterans and their families through collaboration that will build upon and complement the work of the Welsh Government, public bodies and key stakeholders;

Work with the Welsh Government and key stakeholders to recognise areas of need in service provision and identify the means to address those needs;

Improve co-ordination and integration across services where appropriate to facilitate better communication and outcomes;

To build the profile of veterans and promote wider recognition of the skills, experiences and talents of veterans and the valued contributions they make to communities and employers;

To work with public service providers to support the understanding of the UK Government’s new legislation on “no disadvantage”;

and recognise that armed forces and veterans’ families also require support, including during periods of transition