Last Updated: Monday, 14 March, 2005, 16:19 GMT
At-a-glance: MPs' Deepcut report
MPs on the Commons Defence Select Committee have made a series of recommendations to the Army, after a year-long investigation.
The inquiry was sparked by four deaths at the Deepcut barracks in Surrey between 1995 and 2002.
Here are the report's main recommendations:
Definition of Duty of Care
That the Ministry of Defence (MoD) produce a clear and concise statement of its duty of care and welfare obligations for recruits and trainees in the three Services.
Duty of Care information
- That during training, parents or guardians should be provided with contact details of welfare officers and Commanding Officers, unless the recruit excludes them.
Parents or guardians should receive information on possible behavioural changes in their children that may indicate they are having problems and advice on what do if they notice such changes.
They should also be given advice on who to contact if their concerns are serious or have not been dealt with to their satisfaction.
Bullying and harassment
- That the MoD review its working definition of bullying in order to bring it in line with definitions used in other organisations.
- That the MoD revise its policy on bullying to place the emphasis on prevention rather than the victim reporting incidents.
- That the MoD identify robust methods of capturing data on bullying trends that take account of the extent of under-reporting as identified by the committee.
- That the MoD ensures all three Services are vigilant and guard against complacency with regard to racial and sexual harassment.
- That the MoD ensure all instructors are made aware that punishments involving physical activity should not be imposed against medical advice.
- That the MoD undertake research into the relationship between low educational attainment and duty of care problems, in particular bullying and self harm.
Armed Forces' response to bullying
- That the MoD consider how mechanisms could be established to provide independent advice for all non-commissioned personnel on bullying.
Culture and ethos
- That the Armed Forces, and the Army in particular, consider how to promote a culture that discourages bullying and encourages all Service personnel to take action to reduce harassment and bullying.
- That an independent military complaints commission be established, to report annually to parliament.
It would have the authority and capability to make recommendations which would be binding on the Armed Forces.
That the commission be established in such a way as to assure both complainants and the public of its independence from the Armed Forces.
Suicide and self-harm
Access to firearms
- That the MoD should ensure that the regulations on access to firearms are clear, understood and implemented throughout initial training establishments.
- That the MoD ensure instructions on what to do in the event of a serious incident at training establishments are not only available to units, but are adhered to.
- That there be as full a disclosure of information as possible in relation to the Deepcut investigations.
- That the MoD redraft its guidance on suspected suicide to remove any suggestion that
investigations into cases of sudden death should be exacting only because of the
current spotlight on such cases.
Boards of Inquiry
- That next of kin and other interested parties be made aware of the time and
location of a Board of Inquiry as early as possible, irrespective of whether they have
expressed a wish to attend.
- That there be a presumption that the Report of a Board of Inquiry should be provided to the next of kin as a matter of course.
That the MoD make it clear to the Services' recruiting organisations that pressure to meet recruiting targets should not lead recruiting staff to dilute standards or admit applicants who do not meet the mandatory minimum entry criteria.
Treatment of bereaved families
- That the Armed Forces redraft the next of kin forms to take account of
potentially complex parental relationships.
- That the MoD ensure that Casualty Notification Officers receive appropriate briefing
before informing the next of kin, and that such briefing takes account of the failings
that have occurred in the past.
Information for applicants and parents
- That the MoD review the material provided to those making enquiries at Armed Forces Recruiting Officers to ensure that it sets out clearly recruits' rights and responsibilities and the nature of the commitment they are making in language that potential recruits will understand.
- That the recruitment process includes a requirement on recruits to acquaint themselves with the documentation setting out their rights and responsibilities. Recruiting officers should ensure that potential recruits are assisted in fulfilling that requirement.
- That the MoD ensure that Armed Forces Careers Offices provide tailored literature for parents explaining the commitment made by the recruit to the Armed Forces and the commitment the Armed Forces make to the recruit.
- That the MoD produce clear guidance and direction so that recruiting officers are obliged to discuss with potential recruits the desirability of involving their parents or an appropriate adult in the recruiting process.
Age of recruits
- That the MoD examine the potential impact of raising the recruitment age for all three Services to 18.
- That the Armed Forces ensure that those under 18 years of age are only placed in training environments and accommodation suitable for their age.
- That cadet organisations provide advice to older cadets, drafted in collaboration with the Armed Forces, to ensure that cadets are fully aware of the challenges of a Service career.
- That the MoD consider whether some aspects of the cadet organisations' duty of care arrangements might be appropriate in caring for the youngest recruits to the Armed Services.
- That the MoD formulate policy for care of under 18-year-olds as if it acted in loco parentis.
- That all instructors who will supervise under 18-year-olds are subject to Criminal Records Bureau and military records checks before they take up a post in which they will supervise recruits.
Instructors: selection and training
- That the MoD bolster vetting procedures for both civilian and military instructors.
Review and implementation
- We recommend that Directorate of Operational Capability (Doc) appraisals of initial training should be regular and ongoing.
- That regular conferences of Commanding Officers and expert welfare professionals be established, at which changes in policy would be discussed and good practice identified and shared.
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