The council has been recognised for its commitment in supporting the armed forces community in its workplace.

The Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) encourages organisations which champion the armed forces and encourage others to follow suit.

This includes employing serving and former members of the armed forces community, and demonstrating flexibility towards training and mobilisation commitments for reservists and cadet force adult volunteers.

Bury Council, which already had Bronze status in the scheme, had to meet a range of criteria to win Silver, including signing the Armed Forces Covenant which pledges to give serving members, veterans and their families the support they need and deserve.

The local authority has now been awarded a Silver award from the Ministry of Defence for its work.

Cllr Tahir Rafiq, cabinet member for corporate affairs and HR, said: “We are delighted to have gained this silver award for our commitment to our armed forces communities.

"We hope that many other local employers will sign up and show their support for serving and retired personnel.”

Cllr Richard Gold, cabinet member for communities and armed forces champion, added: “Bury has a long and proud military heritage, and we have a moral obligation to look after our armed forces, veterans and their families.

"A key part of that is ensuring that they have opportunities for employment, and time to carry out their reservist duties.

"I’m proud that we have been recognised by putting these policies in place, and we’re now determined to win the Gold award.”

Bury Council and NHS Bury CCG signed the Armed Forces Covenant last November.

This is an important part of their inclusion strategy and wider commitment to supporting all of Bury’s communities through the Let's Do It initiative.

Colonel Mark Underhill OBE DL, chief executive of the North West of England and the Isle of Man Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (NW RFCA), said: “On behalf of the Ministry of Defence, we are honoured and delighted to be able to recognise the outstanding support and commitment given to the Armed Forces Covenant by businesses and organisations in the region, through the Employer Recognition Scheme awards.

“Each recipient has demonstrated not only their support to the Covenant and the wider Armed Forces community, but also that they are prepared to support their reservists, service leavers, spouses, veterans, Cadet Force adult volunteers and Cadets in the workplace.”