Women in the Armed Forces from Recruitment to Civilian Life – IDA Comments

The Independent Defence Authority is saddened at the detail in the Women in the Armed Forces from Recruitment to Civilian Life report released today 25th July 2021. Saddened because it reflects many cases, we are aware of that are currently going on with serving women, saddened because many of the recommendations in the report have been made before in the Wigston Review, HH Lyons review of Service justice and more.

None of these issues are new yet the MoD continues to deny any issues, ignore evidence time and time again, obfuscate dealing with issues and bully individuals who try to speak out. The Danuta Grey review of the implementation of the Wigston Recommendations has now been proven to be false. How can she justify saying “Good progress has been made implementing the recommendations across Defence,” in December 2020, when this Parliamentary subcommittee has found different?

We must question whether she should remain in post? One role of a NED is to ensure accountability rather than aid coverup, where is the accountability in defence for its clear failings? In addition, as most of the recommendations fall under the remit of the Defence People area we must ask if as a department it is fit for purpose? Governance in the Defence People area is clearly either ineffective or lacking.

We commend Sarah Atherton MP and all the members of the Sub Committee who put this hard hitting and necessary report together. It displays a brave cross party apolitical stance that is often missed in Parliament. We urge the Defence Select Committee to properly hold those responsible to account and not let yet another report be ignored.

We welcome the recommendation to create a Defence Authority and that the current Defence People attempt to wrap this up in a new D&I 2* post does not meet the requirement and will happily work with any body appointed to set such a body up and ensure its true independence.  We agree with the recommendations that sexual assault and rape should be dealt with by the civilian justice system, there is no justification for it to remain in Defence. We commend the recommendation for some complaints to be always handled outside the Chain of Command.

This hard-hitting report is a necessary check on the groupthink narrative Defence too often suffers from and we suggest it is time for Defence to properly put its people first and treat them as its most important asset. Parliament has clearly found it doesn’t.

The full report can be accessed here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/6959/documents/72771/default/