10 Feb 2015
The Commission supports the aims of the Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill and welcomes the establishment of the office of Ombudsman. However, the Commission’s analysis concludes that amendments to the Bill are needed to ensure that the service complaints system and the Ombudsman contribute effectively to a reduction in bullying, harassment and discrimination of Service personnel. Amendments are also needed to address long-standing concerns about barriers to Service personnel enforcing their rights under the Equality Act 2010, and to minimise the risk that the process breaches Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention).
In light of this analysis the Commission supports a number of amendments that have been tabled in relation to Clauses 1 and 2, and paragraphs 5 to 9 of the Schedule. A detailed explanation of these amendments is set out in our briefing.
In preparing our analysis we have considered the evidence from cases of which we are aware or in which we were involved, together with the Annual Reports of the SCC, the evidence given to the Defence Committee and its report on the Bill, the Government's Response to the Defence Committee's Report and the report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) on the Bill.
Last updated: 05 May 2016