The Armed Forces complaints system is still inefficient and undermines confidence in the chain of command, says the Service Complaints Commissioner (SCC) in her fifth and final Annual Report to Parliament. The report quotes the British Armed Forces Federation (BAFF).
The report makes stark reading. In her report the SCC, Dr Susan Atkins, presents how poorly the system is dealing with complaints Service personnel have made when things have gone wrong in their Service lives. She concludes that the system is still not working efficiently, effectively or fairly and that, after 5 years, this is unacceptable.
BAFF supports the SCC's call for a full armed forces ombudsman to be established. We, as well as the SCC, submitted evidence to that effect to a recent House of Commons Defence Committee inquiry. The Committee itself has recently endorsed that call.
BAFF holds that a sensibly designed and resourced ombudsman system, far from undermining it, can enhance confidence in the chain of command and the complaints system. Reformed arrangements should reflect the needs and character of service life. The existing complaints system is too complicated and bureaucratic and we support the SCC's call for simplification.