Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill (HC Bill 102)

Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) BillPage 10

(a) to provide that persons of a specified description may not be
appointed under subsection (2)(a) (whether or not as part of a
panel);

(b) to require the Defence Council, in relation to any service
5complaint of a specified description, to act under subsection
(2)(a) so as to appoint—

(i) a person who is independent, or of a specified
description, or both;

(ii) a panel that satisfies one or more of the requirements
10listed in subsection (7);

(c) in a case where a requirement within subsection (7)(b) has
effect, to require specified functions of a panel to be exercised by
the independent members of the panel.

(7) These are the requirements mentioned in subsection (6)(b)(ii)

(a) 15all of the members of the panel must be independent;

(b) the panel must include at least a specified number or proportion
of independent members;

(c) the panel must include a person of a specified description.

(8) The Defence Council may delegate to any person any of the Council’s
20functions under this section, other than—

(a) the Council’s function of reconsidering a service complaint, or

(b) any function of the Council by virtue of subsection (3)(b) in
connection with authorising a person to make decisions and to
grant redress.

(9) 25Subsection (8) does not affect the application of section 1(5) or (7) of the
Defence (Transfer of Functions) Act 1964 (discharge by Service Boards
of Defence Council functions) in relation to the Defence Council’s
functions under this section.

(10) Section 340E(4) and (5) apply for the purposes of subsections (6) and (7).

30Service Complaints Ombudsman’s function of referring allegations
340N Referral of certain allegations

(1) Where the Service Complaints Ombudsman considers that a
communication made to the Ombudsman alleges that a person named
in the communication—

(a) 35is subject to service law and has been wronged in any matter
relating to his or her service, or

(b) was wronged in any matter relating to his or her service which
occurred while the person was subject to service law,

the Ombudsman may refer the allegation to the appropriate officer.

(2) 40“The appropriate officer” is the officer whom the Ombudsman
considers to be the officer to whom a service complaint made by the
person in respect of the alleged wrong is (under service complaints
regulations) to be made.

(3) If an allegation is referred under subsection (1), the appropriate officer
45must as soon as is reasonably practicable—

(a) inform the person that the allegation has been so referred,

Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) BillPage 11

(b) ensure that the person is aware of—

(i) the procedure for making a service complaint, and

(ii) the effect on the making of service complaints of
provision made by virtue of section 340B(2)(c) (time
5limit), and

(c) ascertain whether the person wishes to make a service
complaint in respect of the alleged wrong.

(4) Regulations made by the Secretary of State must make provision—

(a) about matters that must be notified to the Ombudsman where
10an allegation is referred under subsection (1), and

(b) about the time by which notification must be given.

Annual report by Service Complaints Ombudsman
340O Annual report on system for dealing with service complaints

(1) The Service Complaints Ombudsman must, for each calendar year,
15prepare a report covering the following matters.

(2) Those matters are—

(a) the efficiency, effectiveness and fairness with which the system
for dealing with service complaints has operated during that
year,

(b) 20the exercise by the Ombudsman during that year of the
Ombudsman’s functions under this Part, and

(c) such other aspects of the system mentioned in paragraph (a),
and such matters relating to the functions mentioned in
paragraph (b), as the Ombudsman considers appropriate or the
25Secretary of State may direct.

(3) The Ombudsman must give the report to the Secretary of State as soon
as practicable after the end of the calendar year to which the report
relates.

(4) The Secretary of State must, on receiving a report under subsection (1),
30lay it before Parliament.

(5) The Secretary of State may exclude from any report laid under
subsection (4) any material whose publication the Secretary of State
considers—

(a) would be against the interests of national security, or

(b) 35might jeopardise the safety of any person.

(6) The Secretary of State may require the Ombudsman to prepare and give
to the Secretary of State a report on—

(a) any aspect of the system mentioned in subsection (2)(a);

(b) any matter relating to any of the Ombudsman’s functions under
40this Part.

(2) In consequence of subsection (1), in the Armed Forces Act 2006, omit sections
334 to 339.

Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) BillPage 12

3 Consequential amendments

The Schedule contains amendments that are consequential on sections 1 and 2.

Financial assistance for armed forces community

4 Financial assistance for benefit of armed forces community

(1) 5The Secretary of State may give financial assistance to a person for use in
respect of activities that are intended to benefit the armed forces community or
any part of that community (whether or not they might also benefit other
persons).

(2) “The armed forces community” means—

(a) 10members or former members of the regular or reserve forces,

(b) partners, former partners and children of persons within paragraph (a),
and

(c) such other persons connected with persons within paragraph (a) as the
Secretary of State considers appropriate,

15whether in the British Islands or elsewhere.

(3) Financial assistance may only be given under subsection (1)

(a) to a public authority, in respect of activities that are carried out in the
exercise of functions of the authority that are functions of a public
nature;

(b) 20to a person other than a public authority, in respect of activities that are
carried out for a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purpose.

(4) Financial assistance under subsection (1) may be given in any form and may,
in particular, be given by way of—

(a) grants,

(b) 25loans,

(c) guarantees, or

(d) incurring expenditure for the benefit of the authority or other person
assisted.

(5) Financial assistance under subsection (1) may be given subject to conditions,
30including conditions as to—

(a) the purposes for which the assistance may be used;

(b) circumstances in which the assistance is to be repaid to the Secretary of
State, and the way in which that is to be done;

(c) the making of reports to the Secretary of State regarding the uses to
35which the assistance has been put;

(d) the keeping, and making available for inspection, of accounts and other
records;

(e) the carrying out of examinations by the Comptroller and Auditor
General into the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which the
40assistance has been used.

(6) In this section—

(a) “public authority” means a person with functions of a public nature;

(b) references to a public authority include a public authority in the
Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) BillPage 13

Final

5 Extent

(1) This Act extends to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
(subject to subsection (2)).

(2) 5An amendment or repeal made by this Act has the same extent as the provision
amended or repealed (ignoring extent by virtue of an Order in Council).

(3) Her Majesty may by Order in Council provide for sections 1 and 2 and the
Schedule to extend, with or without modifications, to a territory mentioned in
subsection (4).

(4) 10Those territories are—

(a) any of the Channel Islands;

(b) the Isle of Man;

(c) any of the British overseas territories.

6 Commencement

(1) 15Sections 1 to 3, and the Schedule, come into force on such day or days as the
Secretary of State may by regulations made by statutory instrument appoint.

(2) Regulations under subsection (1)

(a) may appoint different days for different purposes;

(b) may make transitional, transitory or saving provision.

(3) 20Sections 4 and 5, this section and section 7 come into force on the day on which
this Act is passed.

7 Short title

(1) This Act may be cited as the Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial
Assistance) Act 2014.

(2) 25Nothing in this Act shall impose any charge on the people or on public
funds, or vary the amount or incidence of or otherwise alter any such charge
in any manner, or affect the assessment, levying, administration or
application of any money raised by any such charge.

Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) BillPage 14

Section 3

Schedule Service complaints: consequential amendments

House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 (c. 24)House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 (c. 24)

1 In Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975
5(disqualifying offices)—

(a) omit the entry relating to the Service Complaints Commissioner, and

(b) at the appropriate place insert—

  • Service Complaints Ombudsman.

Armed Forces Act 2006 (c. 52)Armed Forces Act 2006 (c. 52)

2 10The Armed Forces Act 2006 is amended as follows.

3 In section 373 (orders, regulations and rules under that Act)—

(a) in subsection (2), for “and 340” substitute “, 340 and 340B”, and

(b) in subsection (3)(d) (regulations subject to affirmative procedure),
for the words from “334(2)” to the end substitute “340A(4), 340E(1) or
15340N”.

4 In section 374 (definitions applying for purposes of Act)—

(a) omit the definition relating to the Service Complaints Commissioner,
and

(b) at the appropriate place insert—

  • 20“the Service Complaints Ombudsman” means the
    person appointed under section 365B;.

Equality Act 2010 (c. 15)Equality Act 2010 (c. 15)

5 Part 9 of the Equality Act 2010 (enforcement) is amended as follows.

6 (1) Section 121 (armed forces cases in relation to which employment tribunal
25has jurisdiction) is amended as follows.

(2) For subsection (2) substitute—

(2) Where the complaint is dealt with by a person or panel appointed by
the Defence Council by virtue of section 340C(1)(a) of the 2006 Act, it
is to be treated for the purposes of subsection (1)(b) as withdrawn
30if—

(a) the period allowed in accordance with service complaints
regulations for bringing an appeal against the person’s or
panel’s decision expires, and

(b) either—

(i) 35the complainant does not apply to the Service
Complaints Ombudsman for a review by virtue of
section 340D(6) of the 2006 Act (review of decision
that appeal brought out of time cannot proceed), or

Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) BillPage 15

(ii) the complainant does apply for such a review and the
Ombudsman decides that an appeal against the
person’s or panel’s decision cannot be proceeded
with.

(3) 5Omit subsections (3) and (4).

(4) In subsection (5), for the words from “the service” to the end substitute “the
procedures set out in service complaints regulations.”

(5) After subsection (5) insert—

(6) In this section—

  • 10“the 2006 Act” means the Armed Forces Act 2006;

  • “service complaints regulations” means regulations made
    under section 340B(1) of the 2006 Act.

7 In section 127 (jurisdiction), in subsection (7), for “Subsections (2) to (5)”
substitute “Subsections (2) to (6)”.

8 15In section 141 (interpretation), for subsection (8) substitute—

(8) Service complaint” means a complaint made under section 340A(1)
or (2) of the Armed Forces Act 2006.

Armed Forces Act 2011 (c. 18)2011 (c. 18)

9 Omit section 20 of the Armed Forces Act 2011 (service complaint panels).