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Complaints by female & BAME military staff rise

FEMALE AND BAME military staff had made complaints of ‘serious concern’ about the racial disparity in the armed forces.

In a Commons Defence Committee Report a number of complaints were made, outlining discrimination bullying and harassment of female and BAME military staff as a ‘serious concern’.

The report added some chose not to raise grievances, saying they have "little faith" in the complaints system, however the Ministry of Defence insisted it would "overhaul" the complaints process.

The report published on Wednesday (Aug 7) said there was "no clear data" to suggest why, for the third consecutive year, female and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff in the Army, the RAF and the Navy were "overrepresented" in the armed forces complaints system.

The report highlighted that whilst women make up only 11% of the workforce in the armed forces, 23% of complaints made in 2018 were from them.

In 43% of cases, concerns raised by women related to bullying, harassment and discrimination - compared with 20% of complaints by men.

BAME military staff make up 7% of the workforce but made 13% of complaints, it added. 39% of these complaints concerned bullying, harassment and discrimination, compared with 24% for white members of staff.

The report said it was "unacceptable" that the Service Complaints Ombudsman for the Armed Forces (SCOAF) - which aims to provide independent oversight of the complaints process - had not been sent the results of internal reviews into the system.

"This sends the wrong message about valuing BAME and female personnel, with a potentially negative impact on their retention and future recruitment," it added.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson promised the most serious allegations would be handled by the Defence Authority.

He added: "We have already accepted a number of recommendations to overhaul and improve the service complaints system, including encouraging personnel to come forward."

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