annual report 2017 SCO

Friday 27th April 2018

Ombudsman says good progress has been made, but the Service complaints system for members of the UK Armed Forces is still not efficient, effective or fair.

The 2017 Annual Report for the Service Complaints Ombudsman was laid in Parliament today (26 Apr 18).

The second year of operation has seen continued improvements to the new system, but still not enough for the Ombudsman to assess it as efficient, effective or fair. To address this, the Ombudsman has made a further ten recommendations for improvement to the system. These recommendations, which cover issues ranging from updating the Joint Service Publications that guide the complaints process, to how compensatory payments should be made, will run alongside the ten ongoing recommendations from the Ombudsman’s 2016 report.

The Service Complaints Ombudsman, Nicola Williams said:

“ The reformed Service complaints system is a significant improvement on its predecessor. However, there is still work to be done before I can assess it as efficient, effective and fair.

I remain concerned about the overrepresentation of female and BAME personnel as complainants, and also the persisting culture of viewing complaints as a negative event rather than a positive opportunity to correct potential failings. In addition, there is inadequate staffing in many different areas, including my office, which is causing delay.

Despite this, I continued to be impressed by the ongoing commitment shown by the Ministry of Defence and the single Service towards the reformed complaints system and introducing further improvement. My team and I remain committed to delivering independent oversight of the Service complaints process and helping to build a system that all Service personnel can have confidence in.”

Summary of the 2017 Annual Report of the Service Complaints Ombudsman

2017 Annual Report of the Service Complaints Ombudsman


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