Three organisations in Yorkshire and the Humber have been awarded the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) 2023 Gold Award, the highest badge of honour which recognises the positive role that employers play in supporting the Armed Forces community. A total of 193 organisations nationally have been awarded this year for their support towards the Armed Forces community.
The regional winners
From Yorkshire and the Humber, the organisations recognised for ERS Gold are Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Leeds City Council and Phillips 66 Limited. They will be celebrated at an awards event in York on 14 November 2023.
The national picture
Nearly 200 organisations have been recognised by the UK Government for supporting the Armed Forces community, a record high since the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme launched in 2013. This year, Marks & Spencer Plc, Motorola Solutions UK Ltd, Hilton and Toyota Manufacturing UK are among the household names that have been recognised. Organisations across a range of sectors including transportation, education, finance, and healthcare have been recognised in the awards. Of the Gold Award winners, 28% are either micro or small sized organisations, while 47% are large organisations with over 500 employees. This not only demonstrates the importance of the Covenant, but the skills and benefits that ex-service personnel can bring businesses.
Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, Dr Andrew Murrison said:
“I would like to thank all the organisations that have been recognised in this year’s awards. I’m delighted that we have seen so many organisations recognised with a gold award. Their continued support demonstrates the unique benefits and strengths that our Armed Forces community can bring to the workplace.
“The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, delivered by Defence Relationship Management has a current total of 641 holders. Organisations must reapply every five years to retain their Gold Award status.
To win a Gold award from the Ministry of Defence, organisations must provide 10 extra paid days leave for reservists, and have supportive HR policies in place for reservists, veterans, Cadet Force adult volunteers and the spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces.
“They must also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the Armed Forces community, by encouraging other organisations to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and engage with the Employer Recognition Scheme.”
Honoured to be recognised
Paul Fursey, Humber Refinery Manager and UK Director, Phillips 66 Limited, said:
“This is such an honour to receive, and a huge testament to the commitment and support of the team at Phillips 66, that we have been awarded Gold status just three years after signing the Armed Forces Covenant. I would like to thank our staff at all levels for stepping up to the challenge and helping us move from Silver to Gold accreditation, which demonstrates how seriously we take our responsibilities toward the armed forces community. We remain focused to further developing the support we offer.”
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor James Lewis said:
“As a city, we are extremely honoured to have a long and distinguished military history, and we are proud of the support we offer members of the armed forces, veterans, and cadets not only within the council but across the city.
“As a council, we have many competing priorities, especially with the challenges presented by the cost-of-living crisis. However, this award shows how well we as a city have risen to the challenge of meeting our commitments to the Armed Forces Covenant in these difficult times, and I would like to congratulate everyone involved.”