The biggest civil service union has claimed victory over Ministry of Defence proposals to outsource some services for veterans, including the War Pensions Scheme and the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
The PCS said the services, some of which come under the MoD’s Veterans UK division, had been due for privatisation until it mounted a campaign that won support from politicians, the public and veterans themselves.
Other services that are part of the U-turn include the MoD Medal Office, services for enabling and supporting veterans, and maintenance and development of the information system behind the services – which are all part of the shared-services organisation Defence Business Services.
Some DBS responsibilities are already outsourced, including armed forces pay and pensions, and Military HR. But PCS said it had successfully argued that asking private bidders to run veterans’ services on a for-profit basis was at odds with the Military Covenant.
The covenant is a commitment that those who have served their country “should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives”.
“The campaign included involving MPs from all parties, tabling parliamentary questions, developing a social media presence and running a petition,” the PCS said.
“Union campaigners also visited events on Armed Forces Day in 2018 and 2019 to gather support among veterans and the public.”
PCS said some services for veterans were still under threat of reorganisation and pledged to oppose moves that would harm local economies and reduce spending.
“The union is still campaigning on behalf of veterans’ services to keep them in the public sector and properly resourced,” it said.
“This includes resisting plans to close workplaces such as a Veterans UK office in Norcross, Lancashire.”
The union’s defence-sector group said it was essential that jobs were not lost in an area of the UK that the government had promised to revive.
An MoD spokesperson said: “Following due process, the MoD reached the decision in December 2019 not to outsource certain services under the new Future Service Delivery Contract.
“This decision reflects the important contribution those involved make on behalf of Defence and ensures the services they provide are to the highest standard and remain value for money for the UK taxpayer.”