Armed Forces: Pastoral Care

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 4 August 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Massey of Darwen Baroness Massey of Darwen Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 13 July (HL1351), what proportion of those using chaplaincy provided by their service identified as non-religious; what reasons were given for dissatisfaction with or a neutral stance towards the service received; what steps have been taken to improve the service in response to the 30-40 per cent of respondents who declared themselves either neutral towards or dissatisfied with the service they had received; and what resources, including funded posts comparable to religious chaplaincy, are provided to the various staff networks, including the Humanist And Non-religious in Defence Network, to provide support to those Service personnel who do not wish to talk to a Chaplain.

Photo of Baroness Massey of Darwen Baroness Massey of Darwen Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the service provided to armed forces personnel by the chaplaincy is prioritised according to the religion or belief of the individual seeking pastoral support.

Photo of Baroness Goldie Baroness Goldie Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

Information regarding how many users of the chaplaincy identified as non-religious is not held. Data regarding any protected characteristics of individuals seeking confidential pastoral support is not normally recorded, nor will they necessarily even arise or be disclosed unless they have a direct bearing upon the issues at hand.

Where dissatisfaction or a neutral stance is expressed in the Armed Forces Continuous Attitudes Survey (AFCAS), the specific reasoning behind each survey response is not recorded. AFCAS does not go into that level of detail, however, local evaluations in-Unit routinely show high levels of satisfaction with the teaching and pastoral care that chaplaincy provides.

Neutral responses with the AFCAS survey are often in effect a “not applicable (N/A)” response. In this case the respondents are not likely to have sought direct support from the chaplaincy in the time frame of the AFCAS survey. As they are unlikely to have accessed or used the service provided, there are no specific measures targeting improvement for this cohort of respondents.

Information regarding a breakdown of resources comparing the chaplaincy to the various staff networks that provide support to Service personnel is not held in the format requested.

The question of the religion, belief, or any other protected characteristics of an individual in contact with chaplaincy has absolutely no bearing on priority of access for pastoral support. Pastoral support is delivered according to need and open to all.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.