Uniform Justice

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by kennys-go-nad, Mar 3, 2005.

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  1. This was the CHANNEL 4 News story last night

    Uniform Justice

    Published: 03-Mar-2005
    By: Julian Rush and Girish Juneja

    After fightong to be with his disabled child, a soldier is taking legal action over the way the Army investigates itself.
    He had to fight to be at to his son's birth. When his son fell critically ill - again he fought to get home.
    Tonight lawyers have begun an unprecedented legal action on behalf of a soldier who claims the Army bullied and harassed him - and tried to force him to leave.

    The case could see the Army completely overhauling its internal complaints procedure.
    The Forces are already reeling from allegations that a culture of bullying led to suicides at Deepcut training base. And - more recently - the courtmartial of soldiers accused of abusing detainees in Iraq. Now this could be a further blow to its reputation.

    As Julian Rush now reports - the Army is once again under the spotlight over the way it investigates itself.

    "If they don't want to see something they don’t see it. They will just railroad over something and think they can get away. Well they aren't getting away with it. Not this time." – Debbie Biddiss

    Chandler Biddiss is now five. Soon after he was born he contracted meningitis and he's now severely disabled. His father, Paul, is a corporal in the Parachute Regiment. As a serving soldier he can't take part in this report.

    His fight to be with his family for Chandler's birth and to get back to them when the boy fell ill is at the centre of his unprecedented legal action against the Army.
    He alleges bullying and harrassment by an officer led to his wife Debbie having a mental breakdown. He alleges documents were altered to cover-up the Army's mistakes, and he claims too the Army failed to investigate his complaints properly, its internal grievance procedures dragging on for a total of four years. All claims the Army says have been thoroughly investigated and found wanting.

    "We sat next to Chanlder's bed when we thought he was gonna die. All we saw was a little white coffin - that's all we saw. Where we sat next to his bed we vowed we would fight and take this all the way there. And that is what we are going to do." – Debbie Biddiss

    In October 1999, Paul Biddiss was just back from Kosovo. His request his next deployment to Northern Ireland be delayed so he could look after his family while Debbie gave birth to Chandler, was agreed.

    Then out of the blue, an officer - a Major Nott - told him he was to be "manning controlled" - made redundant and offered a short term contract instead.

    The procedure allows the Army to sack soldiers it thinks aren't good enough to serve a full 22 years. Paul Biddiss refused to sign the papers. He thought he was a good soldier - he'd just been chosen for SAS selection.

    Over the following months, he alleges, the Army repeatedly pressured him to sign.
    "These efforts became increasingly intimidatory as time went by. Durting this time Mr Biddiss was having severe diff in his family life caused by the critical illnes off his son chandler, of which the army were aware." - Jocelyn Cockburn, Paul Biddiss' solicitor

    The Army denies intimidation, but Paul Biddiss alleges he was then ordered to go to Northern Ireland after all because he hadn't signed. Just one day before deployment the order was cancelled. The Army says the cancellation showed proper care for his situation was demonstrated.
    He was able to be at Chandler's premature birth the next day, and finally went to Northern Ireland in January 2000.
    Within days, though, Chandler fell critically ill. Paul Biddiss alleges that for four days Major Nott refused to let him return to England unless he signed. The MOD says Major Nott wasn't fully aware of the situation at the time.

    "They just wouldn’t allow him to come back. I was so scared, I spoke to him on the phone and I was really worried about him, he was just climbing the walls.” – Debbie Biddiss.

    Shortly after, Paul Biddiss' commanding officer gave him 10 months compassionate leave and in a 2 hour interview with his CO, he complained about Major Nott's behaviour and the manning control decision.
    After this interview, he alleges the CO, Colonel Kennett - now a Brigadier - produced a document that was dated to give the impression there'd been an earlier interview - as there should have been under the rules of manning control.

    Channel 4 News has obtained a copy of the certificate Colonel Kennett signed. The signature is dated the 1st November 1999. But the document itself was only printed in February of the following year.

    Because of the court case, Brigadier Kennett declined to be interviewed, but through the MOD he said:

    "I cannot recall all of the details of Cpl. Biddiss' case because it was nearly 5 years ago. However I do remember Cpl. Biddiss faced very difficult family circumstances at the time, for which he has always had my utmost sympathy. The case has recently been reviewed again by a senior officer who was satisfied that there had been no wrong-doing on my part."

    The manning control decision was eventually overturned and Paul Biddiss promoted to Corporal.

    His first official complaint was rejected so he appealed to the Army Board, the last resort for soldiers.
    Four years after his first complaint, the Army Board eventually concluded his allegations had no foundation and it completely exonerated Major Nott, though it did admit there had been administrative errors.

    "Mr Biddiss is understandably outraged and he feels the decision is a whitewash although he was expecting it after the years of trial and tribulation. He’s lost all confidence in the Army’s ability to investigate itself.” - Jocelyn Cockburn, Paul Biddiss' solicitor

    Paul Biddiss application to the High Court claims the Army Board, despite taking four years, failed to investigate his case properly. A former soldier who'd been involved in the administration of his case says his criticisms of senior officers were ignored.

    "There are officers I know who have put forward evidence on behalf of Biddiss, they haven’t been spoken to at all. That clearly says to me that somebody is not investigating it properly." - Michael Vaughan, Company Clerk, 1995-2000

    "We need a wholesale review of how we actually deal with complaints in the armed forces. Wherever possible there should be an independent external ability to judge that. ” Paul Keetch MP, Lib Dem Defence spokesman

    An army spokesman that we spoke to has said that the army is satisfied that Cpl Biddiss’ allegations have been thoroughly investigated on a number of occasions. The latest review by a senior officer he said had now found any wrongdoing on the part of Brigadier Kennet or anyone else. The MOD says it has responded to the application for Judicial review and it will be resisted. Any further comment they say on the army’s internal procedures would be inappropriate as the matters are now before the court.

    But coming on top of the criticism of the Army's investigations into bullying of recruits at Deepcut and the flaws that emerged in the evidence heard at the recent courts martial in Germany, the pressure is growing on the Army to be much more open.


    Dishonourable discharge 09-Aug-2004 31% relevant
  2. Anyone remember this?


    A good pal (an Officer) has told me he could be in the brown stuff at work. he has been found out to have back dated an Official form. This form is not a claim form and has nothing to do with getting any money out of the system. However the form was sent on request as evidence for an investigation into a separate but very serious matter. He has now been told to stand by for a chat on the subject and Sect 62 has been raised on a number of occasions.
    what are the implications for him if this is true? as this case is going to the civil courts very soon.
    Thanks for any help on this

    8O 8O 8O 8O 8O 8O 8O
  3. I don't think that a Brigadier would need to turn to Arrse for legal advice! I'm sure that the MOD will be advising him - his statement read out on CH4 news last night was provided by the MOD.
  4. I hope Knott & Kennett were watching & getting a first class lesson in courage, from Cpl Biddiss

    Watched this last night like many of us did and got a load of positive feedback from civvies at work who were all gobsmacked that manning controls exist. As you can imagine I have spent plenty of time today as education officer. I would say for what it's worth public opinion is against the MOD on this one. Well done for getting the script posted. Maybe for once well done to the journo's for getting this aired. Still don't trust them though.
  5. When you put both stories together?

    Dishonourable discharge

    Published: 09-Aug-2004
    By: Julian Rush and Girish Juneja

    More than eight hundred former and serving soldiers are preparing to take the Ministry of Defence to court - claiming they've been bullied and hoodwinked into leaving the Army.

    A procedure which allows the MOD to sack a soldier half way through a 22 year contract has caused consternation in the ranks.

    Channel Four News has seen evidence that the Ministry of Defence knew the procedure was open to legal challenge under European law.
    The MOD insist no-one has been discharged under this controversial regulation since 2002.
    But some soldiers believe that they are being pushed out, or forced to resign as their regiments come under pressure to keep costs down.
    Now British soldiers feel under threat - not from an enemy but from their own chain of command.

    The problem is “Manning Control”, a procedure that allows the Army to assess soldiers after 12 years and sack them if it thinks they aren't suitable to be employed for a full career of 22 years.
    Four years ago the first signs emerged it was being abused.
    A Para, Corporal Biddiss, claims he was selected for Manning Control to cover up the mistakes of a superior officer. But he was not an unsuitable soldier - he'd just qualified for SAS selection.
    He refused to go and he claims the Army went on victimise him further because he stood up for his rights.

    The case has lit a fuse in the Army - figuring large on web sites for former soldiers. Over 800 past and serving soldiers have contacted Tom Reah with allegations of bullying around Manning Control. The case will start once the Army finally rules on Corporal Biddiss' official complaint - lodged 4 years ago now.
    “If they were civilian employees no civilian employer would stand any chance of terminating their contracts, none at all. But the MOD seems to think differently”

    Tom Reah, solicitor

    Channel 4 News has discovered that ministers have known for some time that Manning Control is legally questionable. It turns out that European legislation gives soldiers rights to challenge manning control on the grounds of unfair dismissal - and we've seen evidence that civil servants have been trying to persuade ministers to change the law to remove those rights before anyone found out they existed.
    We've seen an internal MOD briefing document, written in May 2002, that admits:

    "...there is a strong likelihood of an increase in legal challenges against the Armed Forces' employment policies such as administrative discharge through Manning Controls..."

    Its proposal to change the law without publicity:

    "...would" it says "have the advantage of not drawing attention to the fact that the Unfair Dismissal provisions of the Employment Rights Act were not being activated..."

    Mandarin-speak for a right lost before it was ever used.

    Soldiers' suspicions their dismissals were unfair have been fuelled by cases where the Army first sacked them, then called them back to do the same job on a short-term contract.

    Angela Emms was a lance corporal: an experienced logistics controller. Injuries from a car accident made physical work difficult, but hers was a desk job. She too is ready to go to court, alleging she was bullied into accepting Manning Control:

    “He said I am giving you an order. I am giving you a direct order. You will sign this form and you will sign it today. I had no choice. Short of disobeying an order I don't know what would have happened"
    "An hour or so later I was called back by the families officer and taken into this office. There was just the two of us and basically I was coerced into signing this thing, he just said I am giving you an order, I am giving you a direct order. If you don't obey my orders some kind of disciplinary action will be taken"

    "A year after I had been Manning Controlled I was called up as a mobilized reservist and went to Bosnia for 18 months doing the same job. Why were they calling up this so called undeserving soldier?"

    Since the Biddiss case attracted attention, ministers seem to have repeatedly told Parliament Manning Control has stopped. We've exclusive evidence it continued, and it's happening now:

    June 2003 - Lewis Moonie: "...there are no plans to conduct any Manning Control Point reviews in the next 12 months"

    Yet, 3 weeks later, this was sent to 3 Para, a list of soldiers approaching their Manning Control review point was sent to 3 Para.

    January this year - Ivor Caplin: "There are currently no plans to conduct any Manning Control Point reviews in the next 15-18 months"

    and a month later - Adam Ingram: "...no further reviews are currently planned

    Yet, just last month, Manning Control figured in the Army's daily orders: we can exclusively reveal that soldiers were reminded to "acquaint themselves" with the instructions on the topic.

    The MOD now admits that lists are still routinely being sent to regiments. Ministers' Parliamentary answers, though, say no-one's been sacked under Manning Control regulations since 2002.

    So what's going on - how are these lists used?

    Well, soldiers tell us is they're being "persuaded" to leave voluntarily instead or they're sacked under a different regulation - in order, they believe, to protect ministers from the charge of misleading Parliament.
    Soldiers believe the Army takes advantage of the stigma they feel about Manning Control: dismissal tarnishes their reputation, so few are willing to talk about it.
    But one serving soldier we've spoken to who faces dismissal was prepared to speak:

    “I think the army is engineering a system to save on money - cost cutting, to engineer a system where it leaves a solder no choice but to actually jump before he is pushed. And I feel that pressure - that I might have to jump before I am pushed to save myself or to save my own career and I feel there’s other solders in exactly the same position doing the same thing”

    “If I am to volunteer now then the army wins hands down. The army gets away with not paying me a pension the army gets away with not fulfilling its contract to look after its troops”

    Soldier who requested to remain anonymous

    The MOD denies manning control has ever been used to cut costs by saving on pensions and it says a review of over 200 cases has shown the procedures were all followed correctly.

    But at a time when the Army insists it's over-stretched it has, in recent months, been forced by successful recruitment to cut numbers to conform to Treasury funding limits.
    And while manning control remains shrouded in secrecy, the widely-held suspicion will remain that it's all to do with money, and nothing to do with personnel management.

  6. "And while manning control remains shrouded in secrecy, the widely-held suspicion will remain that it's all to do with money, and nothing to do with personnel management"

    Said as if it were some shock horror headline! Almost everything the government do to the military these days involves either a: sending us on operations or b: cutting costs where ever possible.

    For what it is worth, I believe manning control has always been about saving money by reducing the number of soldiers who can get pensions. Simple as that. If you actually looked at those unfortunate soldiers who have been MCP'd, I have a strong suspiscion that you will find the majority of them are actually perfectly competent and capable individuals.

    Of course, the politicians and bureaucrats at MOD will deny this, but we all know it. It would be foolhardy to admit it though, as this would lead hundreds of compensation cases against said MOD. And quite rightly. It is high time the 'system' was made more accountable and less able to do whatever it wishes in order to save money.

    There is a huge hypocrisy about this whole affair, which has clearly gone on under the current governments tenure. Don't you think it strange that a socialist government that has brought in the European Charter for Human Rights, that is increasing civilian workers rights and trumpets about its belief in meritocracy and FAIRNESS is at the same time abusing the human and employment rights of the military? Could it be politically motivated? After all, it is a fair bet that if there some MPs were voted in by the military, they would Conservative and not Labour?

    Personally, I hope this blows in their faces and the 800 claimants take MOD and the government to the cleaners. It is high time someone made them treat the military fairly. But don't hold your breath though! I suspect I will long have left the army before this all gets sorted out. (Less than 2 years to freedom for me!)
  7. Much as I cannot stand Bliar, TCH, etc, I do not buy into the 'cheap way of getting rid of soldiers' line. Such a policy would need commanders at unit level to instigate it; I don't know one who would give a t0ss about the treasury losing money. Going by experience, MCP has only been used to get rid of dreadful soldiers. Let's face it, in any other job, people like that would be thrown out a lot quicker than 9 years. As I said, just in my experience- I don't know this Para, and for all I know he could have been a good bloke.
  8. It would not take 11 years to find out if a soldier was not upto scratch. Unit Commanders have QR 9.414 to get rid at any time and still can use it. So why can unit Commanders not use 9.413?

    it was instigated by APC, unit Commanders just did as they were told :roll:
  9. 1. A list of those eligible was produced by Glasgow. A recommendation to retain or release was taken at unit level based on the advice of the sub-unit commander. In my experience, this was never questioned by APC. If it had been, the CO would have gone bananas. As far as any OC or Co being "worried about their pensions" for not kicking out a soldier at MCP, this is pure fantasy.

    2. Commanders use 130A covered by 9.414 all the time to get rid of mad, bad or dangerous soldiers, but MCP was targeted towards those who had progressed, but progressed slowly, in their careers, and had no real future.

    We're not a welfare organisation.
  10. If that is how you feel, then no wonder we are in dire straits, I thought we got rid of that mentality years ago, obviously not.

    Next you'll be saying, no place for wooooomen in the modern army or don't want them coloured chappies from overseas.

    MCP has a use and its to cut the pension bill, nothing else. Give a reason why it was suddenly introduced? The Army needs your guys who will never proceed beyond CPl or Sgt, they are the backbone of the organisation, what do you want instead...all top level heirarchy instead and nobody middle branch!

    As for my dig at welfare, we have to offer "welfare" to those who were amongst us, our job is shiit, especially at the moment. If you can't look after your own....who will :?
  11. Don't know what unit you was from but my old unit commander was undermanned and screaming at Glasgow to hang on to soldiers but had no choice but to pick a number, I know he would always send a nil return but Glasgow would send it back informing him to choose or they will "and it will not be in yours or the soldiers interests".

    But tell me this, Why do you think Manning Control policy suddenly stopped after Biddis kicked up a stink? and why was the 'CO" Decision on biddis changed so quickly
    by Glasgow?
    If its such a valuable Manning tool, why is it not used by Glasgow to speed up the natural wastage they now need to reduce the Manning level so to keep with in the budget targets and the new restructuring program?
    Redundancy cost so why not use Manning Control? and on redundancy why is it only aimed at soldiers getting near their 22 year point? to close to the old Pension?

    You Mentioned the AFB130A under 9.414, could you tell us why it was not used under 9.413? 8)
  12. There is a difference between looking after the welfare of those who serve us ( which is essential) and paying people to come to work even though they are not competent soldiers. This attitude that 'old & bold' passed over Cpls are the backbone of the organisation is utter rubbish. This may have worked in the Cold War days, or even the 90s when the nearest we got to a battle was a 5 minute contact in SAMA, but now it doesn't wash. Everyone who deploys out of barracks in Iraq/ Afghanistan has a real chance of getting involved in a serious fight. After all, what's better as a backbone, a competent CSgt/ Sgt or a passed- over Cpl who joined the same time?

    Stay off the cheap digs about "woomen" etc; I find this accusation offensive.
  13. stjohn_knobrocket

    I take it you can not answer those questions i posed to you?

    Sunday Express page 6 to 7. looks like our Badlad on the section 62 thread is getting a hard time in the press


    will this Officer ever be trusted again?
  14. Pish...they just use the old-fashioned "friends of the Corporal said last night that..."

    a big tough para Cpl bullied and harassed by an officer? Perhaps but I doubt it.

    not really bullying and harassment is it.

    hey that's pretty good - I thought you had to apply for selection
    AND...he's 33 years old. I assume he was a bit younger than that when he applied?

    MCM div selected him for brown letter and he refused to accept its decision - he was being insubordinate - I think they're within their rights to make him wait until he carried out his orders

    well if he's good enough then he should stay in - no qualms with that - but he has not been bullied.

    "understandably outraged"? come on - he sounds like he's fallen for the old "no win no fee" vultures and sees (understandably) a way of getting a few bob to make his family's life more comfortable. THAT I can understand.

    here we go again.....
  15. and

    A tad contradictory PoisonDwarf MCM div selected him for brown letter was that the same MCM Div that eventually overturned and then promoted him to Corporal :roll:

    as for the bullying part can you define bullying and then define Blackmail :roll: from all the reports i have seen on this, his kid an misses was ill so the Comp cell should have been notified asap, its a 24/7 unit, so why did it take him 4 days to get back his unit knew? i dont think this is as black and white as you just posted it