Select Committee on Defence Written Evidence

Amended direction on the use of the daily occurrence book (MoD Form 315)


  1.  PS2(A) Policy no 2/2003 is to be cancelled on receipt of this letter. Your attention is drawn to para 6 of this letter which now details the use of a Log Sheet, Army Form B58 and not F Sigs 48 as detailed earlier. Inconvenience caused is regretted.

  2.  Most major incidents within unit peacetime locations are initially reported to a Guardroom and recorded in the Daily Occurrence Book (DOB)—MOD Form 315. This book should, in theory, provide an accurate, contemporaneous record of events. In practice, due to the nature and traditional use of the book it often does not. It is not unusual for the Guard Commander, using notes made throughout an incident, to retrospectively write up the book in a sanitised form in order to ensure that it is in the immaculate format demanded within some units.

  3.  At present, orders for the completion of the DOB are issued at unit level and typically are contained in Unit Standing Orders for the Guard Commander. They direct the Guard Commander to record all incidents in the DOB and some orders stress the requirement for records to be neat and tidy which can inhibit the Guard Commander from ensuring the book is an accurate and contemporaneous account of events as they occurred. Some units rely on the Orderly Officer's report as the more accurate record of an incident. Again, this will almost certainly have been written retrospectively.

  4.  The DOB is an important component of investigations following incidents and the requirements for accuracy and legitimacy are very important. The aim of this policy letter is to direct a uniform approach throughout the Army to the recording of events, and to introduce a new requirement to start a Serious Incident Log (SIL) as an offshoot of the DOB should the incident warrant it.


  5.  Maintenance of the DOB. Except where an Operations Room has been activated, the guardroom will normally remain the control centre and the DOB the usual means of recording events surrounding an incident. Unit Standing Orders are to be amended to ensure that the DOB is used correctly as the official logbook in all such circumstances. Whilst neatness may be desirable, legibility, accuracy and completeness are far more important. Guard Commanders must be instructed to record all events in detail, in ink and contemporaneously in the DOB. Orderly Officers are to be instructed, that whilst they are controlling an incident, they must still ensure that the guardroom is kept fully informed, and that the DOB is correctly maintained.

  6.  SIL. When a serious incident has occurred, which would include a death, serious injury, a theft of arms/ammunition and terrorist attack, an SIL is to be opened utilising the Log Sheet, Army Form B58 (revised 4/89). The sheets are to be dated and numbered, headed SIL and the opening of this SIL is to be recorded in the DOB. The Orderly Sergeant will normally be responsible for ensuring that the DOB and SIL are correctly used to record events. The end result must be a comprehensive record and audit trail of the incident. The SIL will be used to record events in ink, contemporaneously, whilst the DOB continues in use to record other unrelated routine matters. The SIL may be removed to start the log in a separate Operations Room.

  7.  Monitoring. The DOB is to be checked and signed by all officers and warrant officers visiting the guardroom on duty to ensure that a record of activities is being maintained correctly. The RSM or equivalent should expect to see the book each working day and is responsible for educating the NCOs in its use: accuracy and fullness in reporting being the most important attributes. The Adjutant is to check and sign the DOB on at least a weekly basis and the DOB and SIL as soon as possible after any notable incident. Any additional comments or corrections that need to be added subsequently must be annotated as such and correctly time dated and signed. If an SIL is opened, it must be checked by the Orderly Officer during the course of an incident and at its closure, it must be signed by the Incident Commander with the DTG recorded. The removal of the SIL to an Operations Room if appropriate, its return and closure must be recorded in the DOB.

  8.  Subsequent Inquiries. The DOB and SIL, where they have been used to record events during an incident,[14] are disclosable documents and may be required as an exhibit in military and civil legal proceedings. The SIL must be secured and when requested, made available against a signature to the Service Police who will pass it on, where appropriate, to the civil police. Prior to being handed over to the police or Board of Inquiry, the SIL and the DOB must not be altered in any way, which is why they must be completed in ink.

  9.  Archive. DOB and SILs must be archived for five years.

  10.  Implementation. The new procedures for the operation of unit DOB and SIL are to be implemented with immediate effect and unit standing orders are to be amended as necessary.

14   Incidents are classified as any occurrence likely to result in a police investigation, inquest and/or Board of Inquiry. Back

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Prepared 14 March 2005