Process was originally slated to conclude by the end of 2019
Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA
The government is “progressing” with efforts to create a digital means for Armed Forces veterans to demonstrate their service, although – more than two years after the scheme got underway – it still cannot say when this work might reach fruition.
As of February 2019, the government had delivered phase one of the scheme to provide veterans with identification offering proof of their service – which culminated in all “service leavers receiving a recognition card as part of the discharge process”.
The agencies responsible for the programme – the Ministry of Defence, and the Cabinet Office-based Office for Veterans’ Affairs – announced in April 2020 that the second phase of the programme had been delayed.
The aim of phase two is to “extend the scheme to existing veterans so that they can more quickly, easily and securely prove they served in the UK Armed Forces”, the government said at the time.
“We had hoped to have this in place by the end of 2019,” it added. “But due to the requirement to future-proof the scheme so that veterans can access a wider range of benefits, the need to safeguard against fraudulent use means, this process will take longer. Information on how to apply will be released closer to the launch date.”
Nine months on, the situation appears to have changed little with minister for defence people and veterans Johnny Mercer last week providing an update that showed little tangible difference from the April statement.
“Officials in the Ministry of Defence continue to work with the Office for Veterans’ Affairs to develop a digital solution to allow veterans to securely prove they served,” he said. “Work is progressing but we are unable to confirm a delivery date at this point. Information on phase two of the Veterans’ ID card will be released closer to the launch date.”
Mercer was answering a written parliamentary question from Labour MP for North Durham Kevan Jones.