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Mark Lancaster - Ministry of Defence

I am pleased to lay before Parliament today the Service Complaints Ombudsmans annual report for 2015 on the fairness, effectiveness and efficiency of the service complaints system.

This report is published by Nicola Williams as the first Service Complaints Ombudsman, having previously fulfilled the role of Service Complaints Commissioner during 2015. The report also covers the work of her office, and that of the Ministry of Defence, in preparing for the implementation of the new service complaints system on 1 January 2016. It concludes that the old process was still subject to delay and so not operating efficiently.

The report acknowledges where each of the Services has made improvements in 2015 to the way in which they manage complaints. This approach to continuous improvement, along with implementing lessons learned and best practice, provides a solid foundation on which to introduce the new complaints system. This is a shorter and quicker process, and one which strengthens oversight and accountability through the powers of the new Ombudsman.

Unlike in previous years, there are no new recommendations in this report. The Ombudsman has decided that as the new service complaints system was only introduced on 1 January 2016, it is only right to give it a period of time to operate before properly assessing its effectiveness. The Ombudsmans annual report for 2016 will report on the performance of the new system in its first year, making any recommendations as appropriate.

I will place a copy of my response to the Ombudsman in the Library of the House.


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