Armed Forces: Cadets

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 11th September 2018.

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Photo of Nia Griffith Nia Griffith Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Officer Cadet Survey 2017-18, what steps his Department is taking to raise awareness of the Service Complaints Ombudsman among officer cadets.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The approach taken by each branch of the Armed Forces is set out below.

In the Naval Service, Service Complaints procedures, including the role of the Service Complaints Ombudsman (SCO), are briefed to all Officer Cadets during the second week of the training programme. In the seventh week, for Officer Cadets a Divisional Officer (Lieutenant) provides training on Representations and Complaints which goes into more detail about Service Complaints and makes specific reference to the SCO. From September 2018, the Navy plan to increase the seniority of the Divisional Officer providing this training to a Lieutenant Commander. Royal Marines Officer Cadets also receive a more in-depth brief on Service Complaints in their final term.

In the Army, Officer Cadets are briefed on how to raise issues and complaints through their Chain of Command (as well as other avenues, such as a Padre or welfare staff) in the very early stages of their Commissioning Course.

The role of the SCO is taught to Officer Cadets in the final term of the Regular Commissioning Course, as part of their preparation for commissioning. It is a requirement that all Officer Cadets must understand the process of a Service Complaint.

In the Royal Air Force, Service Complaints awareness has been featured on the training programme for a number of years. A Service Complaints awareness brief is provided within the first two days of the Officer Cadet training course, delivered by the Equality and Diversity Advisor. This is reinforced by pamphlets distributed to cadets and further training which takes place in the second and third terms of the course.

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