What is a service complaint?

According to the Service Complaints Commissioner for the Armed Forces, a service complaint is a workplace grievance. It covers wide of area of issues – in dealing with the various ways serving personnel can complain about how they think they have been mistreated in the military. Amongst the areas covered by service complaints are conditions of work, any action taken in respect of inadequate performance At work, and the way in which basic employment related services are delivered – including the payment of wages allowances [or any complaints about military pensions are dealt with by a separate complaint system].

Service complaints are sometimes wider in scope than comparable disciplinary and and grievance systems in non-military businesses. For example, service complaints can include dissatisfaction with any action taken by the military police.

Many such complaints are resolved informally – but some need formal resolution. Military personnel have, however, limited access to civilian Employment Tribunals. By way of example, a serving soldier can make an employment tribunal claim for compensation in respect of unlawful discrimination [though not disability or age discrimination], but employment tribunals don’t have the power to deal with military personnel when it comes to claims of unfair dismissal or for unfair selection for redundancy.

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