Malfeasance in public office: misuse of statutory powers, by the Army Board, to ‘pay off’ senior officers accused of misconduct
L Mowday made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn
This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.
My reference: LSM/FOI/120924/30
“The privilege of command is a fleeting sensation. Those who are commanded are the beneficiaries of the system, as their lives—their very existences—are placed uniquely in the care of the commanding officer. They have a right to expect that their leader will be held to exacting standards of professionalism and personal accountability. Their parents, husbands, wives, children, and friends should also expect this to be so, as the commander is entrusted with the treasured life of their loved-ones. ”
Command Responsibility and Accountability, Lt Col J Doty PhD US Army and Capt C Doty US Navy, Military Review, Feb 12.
The Armed Forces (Pensions and Compensation) Act 2004 gives the Secretary of State for Defence the power to establish schemes in respect of a person’s service in the armed forces and to make provision for benefits payable on retirement. Such schemes are made by Order, specifically in this case, The Armed Forces (Redundancy, Resettlement and Gratuity Earnings Schemes) Order 2010, which established the Armed Forces Redundancy Scheme 2010, the Armed Forces Gratuity Earnings Scheme 2010, the Armed Forces Resettlement Commutation Scheme 2010 and the Armed Forces Resettlement Grants Scheme 2010. (See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/... and http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/...)
Compared to any public or private schemes of similar scale, these are extremely generous packages which are designed to compensate Service Personnel who, through no fault of their own, are being made redundant: “Those personnel who will be returning to civilian life through redundancy will receive full support from their chain of command along with a comprehensive resettlement package to aid their transition.”
Source: Service personnel selected for Tranche 2 Redundancy Programme, MOD, 12 Jun 12,
Following the deaths of Army personnel at the Princess Royal Barracks in Deepcut during the period 1995-2002, four enquiries took place, leading to reports by: the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, the Adult Learning Inspectorate, the Directorate of Operational Capability, and Sir Nicholas Blake QC. The last of these reports specifically examined the deaths of Sean Benton, Cheryl James, Geoff Gray, and James Collinson. Those reports were the catalyst for the Service Complaints process, the purpose of which is:
“[The Armed Forces Act 2006] introduces an independent element into the process, to give Service personnel greater confidence in the system and in recognition of the recommendations of both the House of Commons Defence Committee (in its third report of session 2004-05, published on 14 March 2005) and Mr Nicholas Blake QC in his Deepcut Review report (printed by Order of The House of Commons on 29 March 2006, reference HC 795) which placed firmly in the public eye the importance of demonstrating that bullying, harassment and other forms of inappropriate behaviour have no place in the armed forces and are effectively and openly dealt with.”
Source: Explanatory memorandum to the Armed Forces (Redress of Individual Grievances) Regulations 2007 and the Armed Forces (Service Complaints Commissioner) Regulations 2007. See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006..., http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006..., http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/..., and http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/...
Further to s1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000:
1. Please release any MOD PR briefing material issued in the period 2002-2007 (i.e. in the aftermath of the Deepcut deaths, and the four inquiries which followed), which claims that “bullying, harassment and other forms of inappropriate behaviour have no place in the armed forces and are effectively and openly dealt with” – or assertions to that effect.
2. Please release within the period 1 Jan 10 to 24 Sep 12, all policy documentation, internal communications, and minutes of meetings, within Army HQ, PS2(A), MOD DCDS(Pers), and the offices of SofS, MinAF and Min(DPWV), concerning the granting of redundancy packages to Senior Army Officers (defined for these purposes as Field and General officers, i.e. Major-General) accused of misconduct and/or criminal offences, or who were Respondents (‘Defendants’) in Service Complaints.
3. Please clarify:
a. Would Senior Army Officers under investigation for alleged criminal conduct offences (per Section 42 of the Armed Forces Act 2006) committed during their service remain under the jurisdiction of the Service Prosecuting Authority when then are discharged from the Army?
b. Would Senior Army Officers under investigation as a result of Service Complaints being filed against them (per ss334-339 Armed Forces Act 2006) remain under the jurisdiction of the Army Board or Service Complaints Panel (i.e. the Level 3 Decision-makers under the relevant legislation) when then are discharged from the Army?
4. In the period 2009-2012, how many Service Complaints have been made against officers of the rank of brigadier or above? Please break down the complaints by year, and detail both the resolution and time taken to reach resolution.
5. Please release all policy documentation, internal communications, and minutes of meetings, which concern the circumstances in which the MOD would be prepared to grant redundancy – and concomitant financial remuneration packages – to service personnel outside of the normal boarding and selection processes conducted by the Army Personnel Centre.
6. In how many cases has the MOD granted actually redundancy – and concomitant financial remuneration packages – to service personnel outside of the normal boarding and selection processes conducted by the Army Personnel Centre?
7. Where the MOD did indeed grant redundancy – and concomitant financial remuneration packages – to service personnel outside of the normal boarding and selection processes conducted by the Army Personnel Centre, in how many cases were the recipients “respondents” (i.e. Defendants) in Service Complaints?
8. Where the MOD did indeed grant redundancy – and concomitant financial remuneration packages – to service personnel outside of the normal boarding and selection processes conducted by the Army Personnel Centre, in cases where the recipients were “respondents” (i.e. Defendants) in Service Complaints, which ministers were informed?
9. Please release the minutes of the Army Board meeting at which it was decided to a) ‘pay off’ a brigadier who was the subject of a Service Complaint by granting him redundancy – and concomitant financial remuneration package – rather than b) investigating the complaint, making a decision and punishing the alleged offender – one of their peers – if found guilty, in accordance with the Service Complaints legalisation detailed in ‘Background’, above.
(Further, personalised, details of this may be provided if the MOD insists, however, my focus is on the policy issues this exposes: I have no desire to expose the individuals involved unless MOD intransigence compels such a course of action.)
10. How compatible was a) the Army Board’s decision to apparently shield a brigadier from the consequences of his alleged actions with b) MOD claims that “bullying, harassment and other forms of inappropriate behaviour have no place in the armed forces and are effectively and openly dealt with”?
11. Please supply all documentation concerning consideration of the issue of the use of statutory powers by the Army Board to ‘pay off’ senior officers accused of misconduct. Please include all documentation which considered the extent to which the above action denied victims justice, covered-up misconduct, defrauded the taxpayer, and suborned parliamentary intent per ss334-339 Armed Forces Act 2006, and rendered the Service Complaints framework meaningless.
12. Please clarify how parliament can trust the thousands of Junior Officers and Field Officers to exercise their immense powers over their subordinates lawfully, and to diligently and conscientiously discharge their responsibilities towards vulnerable service personnel under Service Complaints legislation, if General Officers on the Army Board, the very pinnacle of the British Army’s ‘leadership’, consciously and wilfully suborn said responsibilities and legislation.
13. Did the actions of the Army Board in this case constitute malfeasance in public office?
My preferred format to receive this information is by electronic means. If one part of this request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need any clarification of this request please feel free to email me. If FOI requests of a similar nature have already been asked could you please include your responses to those requests.
I note that under s16 of the Act, it is the MOD's duty to provide advice and assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect the department to do so, to persons who make requests for information to it. Accordingly, if the MOD considers attempting to block release of information under s12 of the Act (exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit), please a) provide a breakdown of costs, and b) explain what information *would* be releasable within the appropriate limit according to the department's purported calculations. I would, in that situation, apply for internal review, and ultimately apply for decision by the Information Commissioner, per s50 of the Act.
I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request, and I look forward to hearing from you within the 20-working day statutory time period.
Please see attached a reply to recent Freedom of Information Act Requests.
Army Headquarters | IDL 24 | Blenheim Building | Marlborough Lines |
ANDOVER | SP11 8HJ
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