The Armed Forces Bill - Armed Forces Committee Contents

5  Conclusions and recommendations

1.  While we recognise there may be scope to consider committal to a public bill committee in future, we recommend that select committee scrutiny continues to be the convention for the Armed Forces Bill, where the content of the Bill is significant enough to warrant it. (Paragraph 3)

2.  We are of the view that military service is a sacrifice of a unique nature, and individuals who undertake to serve their country in this way should be recognised as having made a special contribution to British society. (Paragraph 10)

3.  In the interest of inclusivity, we recommend that effort be made to refer consistently to the "Armed Forces Covenant" rather than the "Military Covenant". (Paragraph 11)

4.  It was apparent to all of us that the work of the External Reference Group has been highly valuable. Our evidence clearly shows that this Group presents a vital means by which the voluntary sector can relay key messages from personnel and their families and make a genuine contribution to policy. It would be a considerable loss if this Group were disbanded or sidelined as a result of this legislation. It is essential that this important forum continues and we recommend that a change to its terms of reference is made to give the Group a broader, more permanent role for the future. (Paragraph 12)

5.  We support the provisions in the Bill in relation to the independence and powers of Service police. (Paragraph 13)

6.  We support the provisions in the Bill relating to drug and alcohol testing. (Paragraph 14)

7.  We support the provisions in the Bill which aim to provide greater independence of Service Complaints Panels, where circumstances demand. (Paragraph 15)

8.  We recommend that the MoD review the Service complaints procedures and the powers of the Commissioner in light of her evidence and her forthcoming Annual Report to ensure that the system is as effective as it can possibly be. (Paragraph 17)

9.  The Committee felt the matter of a veterans ID card could usefully be explored further. (Paragraph 19)

10.  We do not advocate any change to existing policy in relation to the recruitment of under-18s. (Paragraph 20)

11.  We recommend that the MoD give consideration to the matter of Service personnel being tried in civilian courts, in coordination with the Director of Public Prosecutions and relevant Government departments as appropriate. If there is capacity within the Service justice system, there may be a benefit in transferring the handling of some cases to the Military Courts where circumstances permit. There may also be scope for the creation of a power in civilian courts to remit cases to the Military Courts for sentence. (Paragraph 22)

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