Documents to download

An analysis of the Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill as brought from the House of Lords. Second Reading is on 2 February 2015.

The intention of the Bill is to reform the Service Complaints System. It sets out the framework for the redress of service complaints and introduces a streamlined appeals process. It amends the Armed Forces Act 2006.

The Bill strengthens oversight of that system by converting the role of the current Service Complaints Commissioner into a Service Complaints Ombudsman. The current Commissioner and the Defence Committee have pressed the Government to create an Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman will have stronger powers than the Commissioner to investigate any maladministration in the handling of a service complaint.

The Bill was not amended in the House of Lords.

The Defence Committee and several Members of the House of Lords have questioned why the Ombudsman will not be able to investigate the substance of a complaint, why she will not be able to initiate an investigation into thematic issues, and discussed the independence of the office. Some former senior military chiefs now in the Lords expressed concern that the Ombudsman’s powers might undermine the chain of command.

The Bill also includes a power to make payments to charities, benevolent organisations and others for the benefit of the armed forces community.

Documents to download

Related posts