British Armed Forces Federation - BAFF - is the independent all-ranks staff association for regular, reserve and veteran UK forces personnel. BAFF is not connected with the Ministry of Defence. The BAFF mission is to represent its own members in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, the British Army and the Royal Air Force.More about your independent all-ranks tri-service military staff association
The Government must now establish a more truly independent complaints process in the Armed Services, says the House of Commons Defence Committee in its latest report, published today. The report is a response to the Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill, which has completed its passage through the House of Lords, and is now being considered in the House of Commons.
According to an online survey by the Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA), an overwhelming 90 per cent of military respondents strongly oppose the Australian Government's below-inflation 1.5 per cent pay rise. In exchange for the below-inflation rise, the Australian Defence Force also wish to impose several trade-offs to save money, such as a one-day reduction in Christmas leave, and reductions in various allowances. The "Offer" was announced in a signal released by the Department on Friday.
The online survey by the DFWA began on Friday 10 October, and by Monday afternoon had received an unprecedented 7,800 responses as well as 33,000 Facebook hits. (The survey closed at 1700 local time today Tue 14 October.)
Campaigners Child Soldiers International (CSI) are taking legal action against the Ministry of Defence to demand that soldiers who joined the Army Foundation College at 16 or 17 years of age "are not forced into serving longer than adult recruits".
Their argument is that those who join the AFC at 16 or 17, and do not exercise their right of discharge before they reach 18, then have to serve the same minimum four years adult service as everybody else. So if their AFC service is included, their total service obligation is longer than someone who joins at 18 or over. CSI describe this as "Catch 22".
After nearly four years ex-paratrooper Tom Neathway, who lost both legs and one arm in an IED blast in Afghanistan, has finally received the Army's apology not only for the way he was bullied by a superior, but for the way he was then treated by the chain of command, and his complaint under the service complaints system appallingly mishandled. Alex Thomson's report shown on Channel 4 News last night 06/10/2014 can be seen below:
In the same week as the Justice Secretary announces manifesto proposals to quit the European Court of Human Rights or disregard its rulings, there has been a dramatic new development in the ECHR position on the right of military personnel to form or join a trade union or representative military association.
Above all, we must never lose sight of the fact that the fundamental case for a recognised independent professional staff association is NOT some Article of the European Convention of Human Rights, but is the fact that a staff association would be useful, constructive and in the professional interests of loyal, effective HM Forces personnel.
While the ADEFDROMIL and Matelly judgements refer to the right to join a trade union, the issue is the right of military personnel to join a properly constituted representative professional association, whether registered as a trade union or not.
We recognise that while the judgements will be welcomed by some in the UK, others will view them (or try to portray them) as providing more reason to limit or remove the application of the ECHR.
Following the ECHR decisions on 2 October 2014 about the right of representation for armed forces personnel, we mentioned in our initial reaction that we would keep a lighthearted league table of any "howlers and inaccuracies* which appear in the coming weeks and months, concerning the representation of armed forces personnel."
A strong entry has already been submitted, which we are placing at the No 1 position in our league table... until a better one comes along.
In the last party conference season before the General Election on 7 May 2015, political parties have been setting out their proposals affecting armed forces personnel and veterans. In alphabetical order, to be updated as the conference season progresses:
BAFF has uncovered an astonishing error in recent reporting about the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS).
Both the Daily Telegraph and the BBC have claimed that 36,000 new claims were registered in one year 2013-14, an extraordinary figure which would certainly suggest a high level of abuse, and go a long way to explain the "serious delays" in processing such claims.
But that figure is completely wrong.
While we are in no doubt that the mistake was honestly made, we have not seen any attempt to correct it, and we are appalled that it has given encouragement to a whispering campaign aimed at reducing the cost of the AFCS.
BAFF in the news
06 - BAFF Chairman, Douglas Young, was interviewed on the BBC's Good Morning Wales programme about delays by Veterans UK in processing claims by serving personnel, veterans and bereaved dependants under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). See AFCS delays allegedly "down to compensation culture"