The House of Commons Defence Committee has announced a short inquiry into the work of the Service Complaints Commissioner. Before taking evidence in the Autumn from the Service Complaints Commissioner, Dr Susan Atkins, the Committee has invited written submissions from interested individuals and organisations, which must be submitted by Friday 7 September 2012. UPDATE: Written evidence was duly submitted on BAFF's behalf, and will be published in due course.
BAFF supported the establishment of the SCC but wish the Commissioner to be granted more powers, and to be responsible to Parliament rather than to the Ministry of Defence, in other words to function fully as an ombudsman. We would welcome any views for or against that position. We would also welcome any other points worth submitting to the Defence Committee. We would also be glad to assist any BAFF members preparing their own submissions to the Defence Committee.
'CONTACT WITH PARLIAMENTARIANS' DIN
Serving personnel should be aware of the recent DIN on Contact with Parliamentarians. Any enquiries as to the official interpretation of such restrictions should be directed through the chain of command. If you have points for any Defence Committee enquiry, perhaps based on your personal experience, BAFF may be able to incorporate your own verified points (not "leaks") in our own submission. The Committee will not, however, investigate individual cases.
Details of the inquiry as issued by the Defence Committee:
New Inquiry: The Work of the Service Complaints Commissioner17 July 2012
The Defence Committee is today announcing a short inquiry into the work of the Service Complaints Commissioner for the Armed Forces. The Committee will take evidence from Dr Susan Atkins, the Service Complaints Commissioner, in the Autumn. The session will be largely based on the Commissioner’s Annual Report for 2011, which was published in March 2012.
The Committee would welcome written submissions on the effectiveness of the Service Complaints Commissioner, including the resources and powers available to her, the complaints system (including possible improvements), and the Commissioner’s relationship with the Ministry of Defence and each of the individual Services.
Please note that the Committee is unable to discuss, deal with or investigate individual cases.
Written submissions to the inquiry should be sent to the Clerk of the Defence Committee by Friday 7 September 2012.
SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN EVIDENCE SHOULD:
• Begin with a one page summary if it is longer than six pages
• Have numbered paragraphs
• Avoid the use of colour or expensive-to-print material.
Submissions can also be sent by post to Defence Committee, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
Individuals and organisations interested in submitting written evidence to the Committee may find the Commons: Guide for Witnesses particularly useful.
PLEASE ALSO NOTE THAT:
• Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within written evidence, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included. If a number of published documents are sent to accompany written evidence, these should be listed in the covering email.
• Written evidence submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organization submitting it is specifically authorised.
• Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
• It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
• Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.