Select Committee on Defence Fourteenth Report

Conclusions and recommendations

1.  In respect of the annual renewal of Service law, our concern has been met… We commend the Government for responding promptly to parliamentary pressure to reinstate the requirement for annual renewal of Service law. (Paragraph 3)

2.  In respect of the degree of independence in the complaints procedure, our concerns have only been partially met. (Paragraph 4)

3.  We welcome the proposal to create a Service Complaints Commissioner. Creating an independent office to which people can make complaints should meet the key concern that Servicemen and women and their families are not always willing to raise issues with the chain of command. But the House should be aware that the role proposed for the Commissioner falls a long way short of the investigatory body proposed by our predecessor Committee. (Paragraph 9)

4.  We welcome the MoD's openness in facilitating parliamentary scrutiny of developments in Service law. (Paragraph 12)

5.  We recommend that the House agree with the Lords Amendments establishing a Service Complaints Commissioner, but it should do so in the knowledge that there is concern that these amendments do not go far enough to ensure independence in the complaints process and that much of the detail remains to be established by secondary legislation. The House can be assured that this Committee will be monitoring the secondary legislation closely and will, if necessary, report any further concerns to the House. (Paragraph 13)

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Prepared 8 November 2006