What is the MCI Partnership?
Wiltshire's Military Civilian Integration Partnership is the first of its kind in the UK. Since 2006, it has bought together military and public services maximising the economic and social benefits of Wiltshire's military presence.
Wiltshire has a significant military presence and we work to consider what any military changes mean for our local communities across the county. We have a particular focus on infrastructure, the impact on the economy, and the delivery of services.
The partnership aims to improve the economic and social benefits of the military presence in the county. By working closely with the Ministry of Defence (MOD), serving Armed Forces personnel, reservists, cadet instructors, veterans, their families and local communities will all benefit. This is increasingly important as we welcome an additional 4,000 Service Personnel and their families who are currently moving to Wiltshire as part of the Army Basing Programme.
The partnership has some key objectives:
- To identify and respond to the changing military 'footprint' in Wiltshire
- To ensure the council and its partners can meet the needs of military personnel, their families and veterans as changes occur
- To ensure the county remains an attractive location for our Armed Forces and long-term investment by the MOD
- To capitalise on opportunities for regeneration and building strong communities
- To maximise the economic contribution of the military to the county
- To assist service leavers in career transition and into employment in the area, helping soldiers back into civilian society
- To encourage local communities to support the Armed Forces through the Wiltshire Community Covenant
- Wiltshire Council
- Army's HQ South West Brigade
- MOD Boscombe Down
- MOD's Information Service and Systems at Corsham
- Defence Infrastructure Organisation
- Defence College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at Lyneham
- Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership
- Homes England
- The voluntary sector represented by Community First.
The MCI Partnership Board meets every three months providing strategic direction and guidance to the partnership and directs the work of its MCI Delivery Group. This group, which also has NHS representation, meets quarterly to direct and monitor progress on the agreed workstreams.
On 5 March 2013 the Secretary of State for Defence announced the future basing plans for the Regular British Army. It outlined the number of troops relocating to and from Wiltshire by 2020. A net increase of 4,000 service personnel and their families is anticipated. This includes many units transferring from Germany and investment in Wiltshire of some £1 billion. Other infrastructure investment, including health, transport and education in the Salisbury Plain area will be included as part of the programme. This includes building some 900 family homes for service personnel and their families, and new development in the Bulford,Tidworth, Perham Down and Larkhill camps, providing single living accommodation for some 3,000 soldiers together with new offices, mess facilities and technical facilities.
A further review of basing plans was conducted in 2016, known as Army 2020 Refine. While the number of service personnel relocating to Wiltshire remained unchanged it did alter some of the unit changes. In addition to units relocating from Germany, some UK based units will also transfer to Wiltshire. Lyneham will now also see an increase in some 500 service personnel.
This Workstream focuses on the future development options for MOD estates in Wiltshire. The MOD intends to dispose of Colerne, Hullavington and Westbury sites, while expanding its site at Boscombe Down. Wiltshire Council is working jointly with the MOD to provide sustainable future development plans for these sites for the benefit of the local community whilst maximising sale receipts to the HM Treasury and reduce MOD's estate management costs.
The MCI partnership draws upon and contributes to good practice with other local authorities. It is currently working with the Local Government Association (LGA) to set out recommended practice in managing complex programmes which needs to be implemented collaboratively with partner organisations. A seminar led by Wiltshire Council was organised by the LGA on 26 May 2017, using findings from a peer review conducted by the LGA on Wiltshire Council's management of the Army Basing programme. The council is asking the LGA to consider another seminar this year.
The Wiltshire Community Covenant was first launched in August 2011. The aim of the covenant is to encourage local communities to support the service community and enhance understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the Armed Forces Community. It was ratified by Wiltshire at the Wiltshire Assembly in December 2013, and re-signed by Wiltshire Council, the MOD and representatives from industry and the public and voluntary sectors in March 2017 at Defence School of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering (DSEME) Lyneham.
The current Wiltshire Armed Forces Covenant and a full list of signatories can be found in the download section.
AF Covenant Grant Scheme
The Government has set aside £10 million per annum to support the Armed Force community. One of its aims is to help it integrate with civilian communities and thus will support organisations in providing facilities and services that will enable better integration.
The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, set up on 1 April 2018, which now administers the scheme independent from the Ministry of Defence, awards grants of up to £20,000 to support members of the Armed Forces community.
It has four broad funding themes now and in future years:
- Removing barriers to family life
- Extra support after service for those that need help
- Measures to integrate military and civilian communities and allow the armed forces community to participate as citizens
- Non-core healthcare services for veterans.
Wiltshire Council has assisted many local organisations in submitting successful applications in the past, particularly for the third category above. We have helped well over £2 million of grants to be awarded to Wiltshire projects. If you would like to learn more, please see the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust webpages.
If you have any questions, please contact CorporateBusinessSupport@wiltshire.gov.uk
This Workstream regularly reviews the governance structure of the MCI programme to ensure that it runs efficiently and effectively.
This Workstream ensures that Wiltshire's military heritage is promoted and protected. It helps to coordinate military and civilian input to current projects such as the World War 1 commemorations, 100 years celebrations of the RAF, and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME)'s 75 year celebrations.
Following two successful programmes of European funding, Sustain the Plain (2002 - 2007) and Plain Action (2008 - 2013), further funding was awarded for 2015 - 2021 for Plain Action and for a new Local Action Group (LAG) Vale Action based on the A350 corridor. Both areas have been awarded £1.380 million and £1.372 million respectively. The programme will be targeted at creating jobs and improving the economy in rural areas through six priorities to provide support for:
- increasing farm productivity
- micro and small enterprises and farm diversification
- rural tourism
- the provision of rural services
- cultural and heritage activity
- increasing forestry productivity.
Across Wiltshire there has been a good take up with applications which now, due to Brexit, require further applications to be approved and contracted by 29 March 2019 and all expenditure claimed by 31 December 2020. There is some funding still available across all the Local Action Groups in Wiltshire. Prospective applicants should contact their local Action Group Programme Manager to discuss their proposal and if funding is available. Programme Managers contact details are available through the links below.
The whole of Wiltshire will be covered by six LAGs; North Wessex Downs LAG, Heart of Wessex LAG, Cotswold LAG, Plain Action LAG and Vale Action LAG.
Details of the LEADER Scheme nationally.
In addition to the MCI workstreams which have distinct boundaries defining their scope, there are a number of themes which run across most workstreams.
- Communication and community engagement
- Health and wellbeing
- Transport and highways
This ensures that council officers, through their involvement at the MCI Delivery Group, are able to assist in the implementation of the workstream's outputs.