Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill 2014

Bill to enable reforms to the sevice complaints system and how MOD makes payments to organisations which support the armed forces community.


The main measures in the bill are:

  • the creation of a Service Complaints Ombudsman to replace the existing Service Complaints Commissioner; the ombudsman will be appointed by Her Majesty on recommendation from the Secretary of State for Defence
  • setting out the framework for the redress of service complaints including who can make a complaint and how complaints will be investigated (both internally within the armed forces and, if necessary, by the ombudsman); the bill introduces a streamlined appeals process
  • gives the new ombudsman powers which will strengthen the complaints system; the powers include the ability to investigate whether an individual complaint has been handled properly during the internal process; a power to recommend action to the Defence Council to put matters right, a power to overturn a decision to exclude a complainant and a power to require the production of information and documents for the purposes of an investigation
  • includes powers to set out the details governing the reformed complaints system in regulations made by the Defence Council and the Secretary of State for Defence
  • provides for the continuation of certain important functions currently exercised by the Service Complaints Commissioner such as the referral of allegations into the system, the right to be notified on the progress of those complaints and a duty to prepare an annual report on the system for the Secretary of State for Defence which is laid before Parliament
  • a power to make payments to charities and benevolent organisations and to public authorities for activities that benefit the armed forces community.

The bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 5 June 2014.

The bill and the accompanying explanatory notes can be found here


Published 9 June 2014
Last updated 10 July 2014 + show all updates
  1. Added draft regulations.
  2. First published.