This document contains the following information: Defending the indefensible: a report by the Parliamentary Ombudsman on an investigation of a complaint about the Ministry of Defence and the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency seventh report of the Parliamentary Commisioner for Adminstration session 2010-2012.
This report concerns a complaint by Mr A (now deceased) and his siblings, who were British civilians interned by the Japanese in Singapore in 1945. In 2000 they applied to the compensation scheme set up by the British Government to recognise the ‘debt of honour’ owed by the UK to British prisoners of war and civilian internees. They were initially denied compensation because they did not have a close enough link to the UK to qualify, but received a £500 payment and an apology following the Ombudsman’s intervention. In 2007, the MoD set up a further scheme to compensate those whose applications to the original scheme were wrongly rejected. Mr A’s family was invited to apply to this second scheme, but their application was refused and they were told that the previous apology and payment had been given to them in error. The investigation found that Mr A and his siblings were subjected to prolonged and aggravated distress by the British Government during the 10 years that they struggled to resolve their compensation claims with the MoD. The MoD mismanaged the administration of the second compensation scheme and had incorrectly and offensively retracted a previous apology issued to them. The Secretary of State for Defence should apologise personally to the family and pay them the compensation wrongly denied to them (£4,000 each) plus a further £5,000 each in recognition of the distress they suffered. The MoD has accepted all the recommendations and will launch its own review of what went wrong.
This paper was laid before Parliament in response to a legislative requirement or as a Return to an Address and was ordered to be printed by the House of Commons.