Select Committee on Defence Written Evidence

Policy implementation


  All these policies are assessed and managed by the Chain of command in particular the Commanding Officer of each establishment.

  Bullying and Harassment. Every unit is required to maintain a record of all inappropriate behaviour and to report all incidents up the chain of command. A new IT system is being introduced which will allow automated reporting of all harassment and bullying incidents. The system's security guidelines will allow only those in the immediate chain of command to view all the details, including names, thus satisfying the requirements of the data protection act. However, a superior headquarters will be able to view the data allowing them to monitor the level of incidents.

  Recruits are made aware of the policy by being taught and issued the following documents:

  "Basically Fair—equality and Diversity in the British Army"—This defines unfair treatment, bullying and harassment and details how complaints are to be dealt with in theory, as follows:

The Measure of Your Conduct

  The actions and behaviour of soldiers are measured by the effect on the operational effectiveness of the team to which they belong, both on and off duty. Your conduct is measured by the code of conduct:

    "Have your actions or behaviour damaged, or are they likely to damage, the ability of your team to do its job effectively?" If the answer is yes then you are not doing your duty or living up to your responsibilities as a soldier. It is your right and duty to tell someone in your chain of command if you are being discriminated against, harassed or bullied. Every soldier is encouraged to seek advice if they think they are being discriminated against, harassed or bullied.

Definitions of Unfair Treatment

  Direct Discrimination occurs when a person is singled out for less favourable treatment because of such things as gender, race, sexual orientation, or religious belief.

  Indirect Discrimination occurs when some conditions or requirements may appear to apply to everyone, but in reality exclude people from certain minority groups.

  Harassment is any behaviour, which you feel is unacceptable, is unwelcome or is unreasonable; it can be physical, verbal or non-verbal. It may take the form of bullying, victimisation, or the misuse of authority, and could be one incident or repeated behaviour.

  Bullying is unwelcome or threatening behaviour, the abuse of physical or mental strength, or of a position of authority, to intimidate, persecute or victimise individuals or groups. Sexual and racial harassment are forms of bullying. Physical assault should always be reported to (the chain of command) someone in authority.

  Prejudice is based on preconceived opinions that are often irrational and not based on actions and behaviour. Prejudice results in the unfair treatment of a person or group.

  Victimisation occurs when an individual is treated unfairly further because they have made a complaint, or have been a witness in a complaint.

Situations of Unfair Treatment

  The Army wants soldiers to feel confident that they can deal with situations of unfair treatment: to trust the Army to take their complaints seriously, and to understand why fair treatment is important to the Values and Standards of the Army.

The Impact of Unfair Treatment

  The person who is treating you unfairly may not realise that they are causing you offence. Remember it is the effect the behaviour is having on you that is important.

  The ATRA Code—Issued to each recruit and completed on arrival. Details by name the empowered officer in the unit to which the recruit can complain.


The CO (Insert Establishment Name) commits to: As an ATRA recruit/trainee, I commit to:

  1.  Train you to be a professional soldier in an inspiring, challenging, exciting and enthusiastic manner.

  2.  Treat you as an individual, honestly and fairly.

  3.  Clearly explain what is expected of you at all times.

  4.  Ensure that your training is progressive, safe and relevant.

  5.  Ensure that you are kept informed of major events in the course, including time off.

  6.  Provide your basic requirements, such as accommodation, food and equipment.

  7.  Provide you with a living and working environment free from harassment, bullying and unlawful discrimination and explain the complaints procedure to you, including whom to contact. (Add name, location and contact telephone number)

  8.  Provide reasonable and easy access to welfare personnel and facilities. Explain to you how to contact an officer independent of the chain of command to objectively listen to serious concerns you may have. (Add name, location and contact telephone number)

  9.  Cater for your spiritual and cultural needs.

10.  If required, provide the remedial training and rehabilitation necessary for you to succeed in training.
  1.  Work hard, enjoy myself, try my best and be committed to becoming a professional soldier.

  2.  Dress and behave appropriately at all times.

  3.  Treat others with respect.

  4.  Read and obey Daily Detail and Part 1 Orders. Read and obey Standing Orders and notice board information. Obey all other orders and instructions including those given by Permanent Staff: military and civilian.

  5.  Attend all parades, daily routines and duties of which I have been notified and ensure that I am punctual at all times.

  6.  Remain alert to the security threat.

  7.  Not steal or vandalise MoD property or the property of others, respecting all property as though it were my own.

  8.  Look after all kit and equipment issued to me and understand that I will have to pay for any losses for which I am responsible.

  9.  Report all incidents of harassment, bullying, unlawful discrimination or unsociable behaviour immediately to the appropriate officer. (Add name, location and contact telephone number)

10.  Live by Army Values and Standards.

I have read and had explained to me the above ATRA Code.

  Instructors are taught the policy as part of their compulsory induction training and this is reinforced in annual training. They are also issued in the ATRA Code of Practice for Instructors, which further reiterates the policy. Copies of the ATRA Code of Practise for Instructors will be provided to the HCDC.[13]

  Identification. Any part of the supervisory regime may identify someone at risk, the padre, WRVS, platoon staff, medical staff, pay staff, military or civilian trainers as well as the Unit Welfare Officer. In addition recruits and trainees are encouraged to report any suicidal inclinations among their peers, this is part of the military ethos of looking after your mates. The important thing is that once identified the information is shared with those who need to know, and in particular the Medical Officer.

  Management. A risk assessment is carried out on anyone identified as being at risk and they are given extra supervision as required. Units have a formal system of recording and monitoring Vulnerable and At Risk students. A confidential register is maintained and reviewed at least monthly. The review is by an appropriate management group, possibly, but not necessarily, the Welfare Committee. A specific risk assessment is carried out before anyone on the list is placed on guard or given access to weapons and live ammunition.

  Action on Posting. When a student on the Risk Register is posted to another unit an assessment is made and, if necessary, the new unit is informed as to the nature and seriousness of the individual's vulnerability or risk.

  The MoD Guidelines for the Implementation of a Supervisory Care Regime for Recruits and Trainees within Phase 1 and 2 Training Establishments are followed in all establishments.

Stress Fractures

  Stress fractures are partial or complete fractures of bone arising from repetitive strain during sub maximal physical activity. The bone matrix is unable to deal favourably with the stresses imposed upon it by the physical activity and a stress fracture develops. These fractures occur most commonly in the lower limb with the specific anatomical site dependent on the type of activity. Most Army recruit stress fractures occur in the tibia (larger bone leg), fibula (smaller, thinner bone leg) and metatarsal bones (foot). A small number occur at other sites (eg pelvis).

  There are a number of factors associated with the risk of developing stress fractures—age, sex, anatomical and biomechanical factors, fitness history, endocrine status, nutritional factors, footwear and training error. Typically stress fractures occur after introduction of, or change in activity, and an increase in running mileage or intensity. Anecdotal evidence suggests that those individuals who are more sedentary and least fit are more at risk when engaging in a training programme.

  The incidence of stress fracture in recruits can be reduced by adapting the training requirements to allow development of physical fitness at a pace not exceeding the capacity of the bone matrix to remodel. Recruits are issued new training shoes at commencement of training (a 1988 study revealed the relationship between age of training shoe and development of stress fracture). Training is varied across running surfaces and route direction to reduce, as far as is possible, impact pressures (hard surfaces result in higher impact forces) and unequal distribution of weight within the feet (road camber).

  Occupational Medicine HQ ATRA has previously commissioned research that allowed development of the Surgeon General's Training and Exercise Medical Advisory Group (TEMAG) programme for active rehabilitation of tibial stress fractures. Other HQ ATRA commissioned research has revealed a relationship between the use of injectable contraception and an increased risk of development of stress fracture. Medical Officers responsible for Army recruits have been advised to recommend other means of contraception to female recruits.

  Research studies are ongoing in relation to recruit nutritional intakes (to increase calcium intake) and diagnostic imaging (which is more effective: radio isotope scan or magnetic resonance imaging).

  Stress fractures are more common in female recruits and, although there is currently some streaming according to ability in early recruit physical training, a major study is shortly to commence to stream separately male and female recruits. American research has demonstrated that cigarette smoking is closely linked to the development of all types of training injury. British Army recruits are advised not to smoke and those that do so are offered smoking cessation intervention.


  Policies flow down from Government, MoD and Service HQs to individual training units and are implemented by Commanding Officers and their staffs. Tri-Service guidelines have also been produced covering, for example, Supervisory Care Regimes and Remedial Training.

Risk of Self-harm

  As a result of the DOC Audit and the RAF Instructor Studies Paper, a new three-week modular course was designed for all RAF Phase 1 and Phase 2 Instructors to be undertaken prior to taking up appointment. The new course commenced in April 2004 and includes a Care of Trainees module, which is undertaken at Amport House. Instructors trained prior to 1 April 2004 attended the old Basic Instructional Techniques (BIT) course with the emphasis on training delivery. Duty of care training for these instructors and other administrative support staff is conducted as part of their induction training at that training establishment. Duty of care issues (including self-harm) will still be included as part of the Induction Training for personnel completing the new instructors course.

Stress Fractures

  There is strong scientific evidence that involvement in regular physical exercise during formative years will provide a level of protection against the incidence of musculo-skeletal injuries, such as stress fractures. Recognising that fewer than in the past will have had regular PEd at the recommended levels during full-time education, the RAF has a holistic approach to minimise the risk of injury among recruits while still achieving the training objectives:

    —  Firstly, we provide all recruits with comprehensive literature and information on the physical preparation needed before entry into the Service. Secondly, all initial RAF training courses programme five periods of PEd per week. The aim of this training is to develop physical fitness to the required levels for RAF Service and, along with a similar level of programming in Phase 2, encourages the adoption of an exercise habit and a healthy lifestyle.

    —  Moreover, while the RAF wants recruits to achieve the necessary physical fitness standards ideally before completion of Phase 1, with PEd also programmed into RAF Phase 2 attainment of the necessary physical fitness standards can be achieved before the end of this phase without detriment to productive Service. Consequently, PEd programmes can be progressive, challenging, but not be overly strenuous for those with low levels of physical fitness on arrival who are at greatest risk of injury from concentrated periods of physical exercise.

    —  Thirdly, on arrival at initial training all recruits undertake a physical fitness assessment, which is used to stream recruits into appropriate physical ability groupings; this allows trainees to work in groups of similar physical abilities so that the less physically fit can undertake a challenging programme, but are not over-stretched.

    —  Fourthly, during the first three weeks PEd lessons use many "low impact" activities (such as aerobics in the swimming pool) to improve physical fitness and introduce "high impact" activities such as running gradually.

    —  Lastly, recruit training is programmed so that physically-demanding lessons, such as PEd and drill for instance, are not consecutive on the timetable, thus, minimising the risk of injuries caused through over-use and fatigue.

  By applying this holistic approach the RAF is able to minimise (but not eliminate) the risk of musculo-skeletal injuries, such as stress fractures, and still achieve its training aims. Since employing such strategies (some years ago) the RAF has reduced the number of musculo-skeletal injuries among its recruits. Injuries, including stress fractures, which do occur during training are treated through a comprehensive medical and remedial PEd regime.


  Much research has been undertaken within the Naval Service on the identification of those at risk of self-harm. However, this is an extremely difficult issue to tackle. Key issues are identification of previous instances and training of line management. A mechanism for implementing the former is under consideration but has significant cost and DPA implications, the latter is addressed through the trainer package (see Ev 264).

  Trainees are issued with a small card, which lists the responsibilities of the establishment to the trainee (and vice versa) and gives useful contact telephone numbers (including a 24 hour helpline). Transfer of documentation between Phase 1 and 2 schools has been much improved since the Director of Operational Capability Appraisal of Initial Training (Reference D/DOC/10/64 dated 18 December 2002) as has the liaison between key staff (including Chaplains).

  Publication brochure available to all; RN and RM personnel entitled "Combat Harassment & Bullying".

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