Select Committee on Defence Fourteenth Report


The Armed Forces Bill has been considered by both Houses and is awaiting consideration of Lords Amendments in the House of Commons.

The Bill as introduced provided for a service complaint panel, to which the Secretary of State for Defence might in certain cases appoint an independent member. The Defence Committee published a report before Second Reading arguing that the Government's proposals did not provide a mechanism to deal with complaints which was sufficiently independent of the chain of command.

In response to the Deepcut Review, the Government tabled amendments in the House of Lords providing for a Service Complaints Commissioner.

We welcome the proposal to create a Service Complaints Commissioner, as an alternative route for complaints to the chain of command. But the role proposed for the Commissioner falls a long way short of the investigatory body proposed by the Defence Committee in 2005.

Much of the detail of the new complaints mechanism remains to be established by secondary legislation. The Committee will be monitoring the secondary legislation closely and will, if necessary, report further concerns to the House.

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Prepared 8 November 2006