After nearly four years ex-paratrooper Tom Neathway, who lost both legs and one arm in an IED blast in Afghanistan, has finally received the Army's apology not only for the way he was bullied by a superior, but for the way he was then treated by the chain of command, and his complaint under the service complaints system appallingly mishandled. Alex Thomson's report shown on Channel 4 News last night 06/10/2014 can be seen below:
The British Armed Forces Federation was not involved, but Tom's campaign for justice was supported and assisted by BAFF members, one in particular, who we warmly congratulate and thank. The warmest congratulations are due to Tom Neathway himself, who has conducted himself with great dignity and determination.
So does the fact that Tom has finally "won", after years of being knocked back, mean that the system works after all?
It's obvious that the best possible system will still go wrong sometimes, so it's important to have sufficient means of appeal without making the complaints system more cumbersome than it already is.
The BAFF view is that the service complaints system, while an improvement on what was there before, is still not fit for purpose. We are not convinced that the changes now going through Parliament will be sufficient to avoid another saga like Tom Neathway's.
Amongst other things, UK armed forces personnel deserve a properly recognised professional staff association not only to campaign for improvements, but to be available to future complainants for independent advice and support.
Alex Thomson's blog can be seen here: The disabled Afghanistan veteran bullied by his superiors | Alex Thomson's View