Select Committee on Defence Written Evidence

Policy on bullying and harassment

Bullying, discrimination and harassment

  Bullying is not a specific offence and any allegation of this nature are recorded as harassment or assault. We see no room for complacency and we aim to confront unacceptable behaviour at every opportunity.

  The results of internal surveys and focus groups indicate that attitudes are becoming more positive on equal opportunities matters and that current policies and the investment in training are having an effect. It is also apparent that there continue to be instances of inappropriate behaviour and that confidence in the complaint's procedure needs building.

  The right of every recruit and trainee to have confidential access to a commissioned officer was a major recommendation in the DOC report. The Services are now issuing credit card style aide memoirs to all recruits/trainees with the contact details of all support personnel, including a named officer.


  Army policy on bullying and harassment is enshrined in AGAI Vol 2 Ch 75 Equal Opportunities Policy, Guidance and Instructions. This policy is available across the Army to all personnel in the documents "Basically Fair-Equality and Diversity in the British Army", issued to all Army personnel from last year and "CGS' Equality and Diversity Directive for the Army", issued to commanders.

  The Army aims to treat everyone fairly and will not tolerate unlawful discrimination, including harassment and bullying. It recognises that each individual is unique and strives to give them the opportunity to develop their abilities fully, while emphasising their responsibility to the Army. All instances of unfair treatment, and every complaint, are investigated. Firm action is taken wherever appropriate.

  The Adjutant General is responsible for the formulation, implementation, and monitoring of Equality and Diversity policy for the Army, in consultation with MoD staffs. He reports annually to the Executive Committee of the Army Board on progress in the areas of recruiting, individual training, career policy and management, representation, management and resolution of complaints, and developments in policy and the law. Everyone engaged in the writing of policy considers its potential impact on every individual, including those who belong to minority groups.

  Diversity training objectives have been incorporated into Officer Career Development Courses and for soldiers in their Command Leadership and Management training. These build on the training given to officer cadets and recruits, and the annual training that all soldiers receive.

  All Brigadiers and above attend the senior officers course at JEDTC on appointment, and a refresher course every three years. Officers at Colonel rank who have command responsibility, or who are responsible for supervision of civilian staff, also attend.

  Recruiting activity publicises the opportunities and benefits of a career in the Army, as well as the standards required of anyone wishing to enlist, whatever their background. It is made quite clear to potential recruits that any racist and sexist behaviour will not be tolerated.


  Harassment and bullying will not be tolerated in the RAF, either among Service or civilian personnel, as it undermines confidence, can effect mental and physical health, erodes morale, and as a consequence, damages unit cohesion and operational effectiveness. This assertion is summarised in the RAF Equality and Diversity Policy and the Complaints Procedure found in AP 3392 Volume 4 Chapter 18 Leaflets 1803 and 1805.


  The following policy statement is taken from Queen's Regulations for the Royal Navy (QRRN) Chapter 42:

    "It is Navy Board policy that there shall be no discrimination against any person on grounds of sex except where being male is either a genuine occupational qualification or necessary to maintain combat effectiveness, or against a married person. There shall be no discrimination on grounds of an individual's race, ethnic origin, colour or religion. All serving personnel shall have equal opportunity for employment and advancement within the Naval Service on the basis of their ability, performance and aptitude for work. All personnel shall have the right to work in an environment free from intimidation, humiliation, harassment or abuse...

    Personnel who believe that they have been the subject of racial or sexual discrimination, harassment, abuse or bullying have a right to state a complaint using the internal complaints procedure".

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Prepared 14 March 2005