THE Secretary of State for Defence has announced that the Service Complaints system will be reformed and the Service Complaints Commissioner given new powers as the Service Complaints Ombudsman.

If you wish to make a complaint, this new approach makes it possible for you, after one level of appeal, to ask the independent Service Complaints Ombudsman to review the handling of the complaint if you are not satisfied that it has been dealt with correctly.

These changes will ensure that the Services and chain of command are held to account and deal with problems and complaints quickly, effectively and fairly. They will also strengthen the Commissioner’s role in helping the Services identify where improvement needs to be made.

If your soldier is being mistreated, then speaking out without fear of repercussions is a must. Now, if your complaint is not handled properly, you will have an independent ombudsman to turn to who will review the handling of your case and make recommendations to correct any failings.

AFF Chief Executive, Catherine Spencer, welcomed the news, she said: This is a very positive step forwards to ensure that Service personnel and families have access to fair treatment. AFF supported calls for this change last year and we will be delighted to see them take effect.”

The changes will not be immediate as legislation is required. If your complaint is already made, or you wish to make a complaint before the changes are introduced, you can approach the SCC exactly as you have done in the past.

Commenting on the MOD’s written ministerial statement, Service Complaints Commissioner Dr Susan Atkins said: “I am pleased that the MOD has accepted that a simpler, faster and more accountable system is now needed, in line with ACAS [Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service] best practice for workplace grievance schemes.”

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