Councils to share armed forces information to work closer on assisting personnel

AN ARMED forces covenant partnership in Hampshire will see information on past and present service personnel shared between councils to provide a better welfare service.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 10:48 am

The Solent Armed Forces Covenant Partnership – signed by Portsmouth, Gosport, Southampton and Isle of Wight councils – was set up in 2017 to create a better network of services.

But at a Gosport Borough Council meeting last night, councillors unanimously agreed to the sharing of information for those using services in the Gosport community with other councils in the region.

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Veterans and serving forces personnel will be given seamless access to services across the Solent. Picture: Paul Jacobs (141677-8)

Portsmouth City Council has identified the platform Kahootz as the best place to store the information, with sensitive details about individuals being encrypted and framework made to comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

It is hoped that by sharing the information with one another, services for individuals can be better tailored to suit their needs.

Conservative ward councillor for Privett, Cllr Zoe Huggins, said the move would stop veterans with PTSD from having to repeat harrowing stories each time they access a new service.

She said: ‘Outreach is really important but these people don’t want to be repeating their stories or reliving the tragedies behind them.

‘With this level of communication the stories are passed on and that’s what makes this such a fantastic service.’

Gosport’s armed forces champion, Cllr Marcus Murphy, said: ‘Because we have the four councils we can use facilities across all four areas.

‘In Portsmouth and Southampton there are great services that veterans can use, but many might not know they are there.

‘The only way we can get them to these services is by sharing them across all four councils.’

According to the partnership, the sharing of information will allow veterans and their families to seamlessly move between drop-in services without extra paperwork, while also creating a collaborative workspace for services.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Brockhurst, Cllr Rob Hylands, added: ‘Having seen the sharp end of this, the people who need the most help are those least likely to seek it.

‘I hope this helps us to move forward and do even more for those people.’