Armed Forces Covenant

Background to the Network for Ex-Service Personnel Project (NESP) 2016-2018

In 2016, HMPPS CFO was the recipient of an MoD Covenant Fund Trust (was Grant) fund. The project was called “Network for Ex-Service Personnel” (NESP). As a recap on the NESP project 2016-2018; the original proposal was to work with those Detainees Under Sentence (DUS) at the Military Corrective Training Centre, Colchester and also those in HMPPS CJS who have previously served for the Armed Forces and help support them through the gate with the ultimate goal of finding employment and reduce reoffending rates. 
Over the duration of the project, the work remit expanded considerably to work with other external; organisations (RFEA, Ubique, SToMP, NPR and Ormiston Families). There was also another key piece of work looking at statutory supervision for those leaving MCTC based on a HMiP recommendation during the project lifespan. 


In 2018, HMPPS CFO was invited to apply for continuation funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Trust, known as NESP II. This was to embed CFO learnings and delivery into the mainstream offer.

This saw the development of the Veteran Hub (and other cohorts) on its own wing within HMP/YOI Holme House which went live in June 2022. Due to the success of this hub, CFO went further to support veterans and launched a veteran wing (Discovery Wing) at HMP Risley. Both wings are currently undergoing evaluation to evidence their success.

In 2021 HMPPS’ Director General gave approval for CFO to lead on all HMPPS Veteran strategic strands. As a result, CFO committed to this by creating a HMPPS CFO Veteran Policy Lead. The landscape of the veteran agenda has hugely progressed and support for veterans in custody is now being co-ordinated and mapped to assist with identifying gaps as well as help to collaborate closer between and with veteran charities.

Identification of veterans

It is known that the identification and accurately recording them is something which is constantly striving to be improved. There is now a process in place for those working in Prisons to quickly receive an answer direct from MoD. This has seen a significant improvement in the identification and recording which helps CFO’s Research and Stats team to build demographic data. 

Veterans in Custody Support Officers (ViCSOs)

One role that plays a huge part in assisting veterans throughout their journey are ViCSOs. These staff are usually ex-forces themselves which can be useful when it comes to identifying veterans. They are also passionate about their role, which is done on top of their day job as this agenda is not mandated. Without these staff, very little support would be accessed by the veterans in custody. HMPPS CFO Veteran Policy Lead acts as a contact point for all veteran related queries within prison and assists with accessing external support where needed to help alleviate any restrictions on facility time. 
Armed Forces Breakfast Clubs are increasing in numbers across prisons too, with the support by the founder Dereck Hardman and the ViCSO prison lead to help guide HMP staff

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) 

HMPPS CFO Veteran Policy Lead has introduced the use of an MoU between Prison Groups (regionally) and veteran charities. The aim of this is to help understand what services are already supporting prisons “in-reach” and what services have struggled to contact prisons. It will also enable some of the smaller charities to offer their tailored services to veterans and plug any gaps there might be. The main outcome is to enable a more joined up approach form veteran charities and to collaborate to minimise duplication and dropouts in service as well as complement existing services.  


If you would require any more information on the NESP or NESP II projects, are a member of staff requiring assistance or advice, or if you provide support to veterans and would like to discuss this further then please email 

CFO Veteran Support Map

CFO Veteran Support Map 

This map was developed during NESP in conjunction with Anglia Ruskin University. HMPPS CFO has committed to resourcing this as it provides accurate detail of where a veteran can access specific support services and by which organisation, no matter where they re-locate to after release.  

This map is also included in the MoD 10 Veterans’ Strategy Action Plan whereby updates are provided with regards to any changes/reviews that take place. This link will take you to the map. 


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