New Inquiry: The Work of the Service Complaints Commissioner

17 July 2012

The Defence Committee is today announcing a short inquiry into the work of the Service Complaints Commissioner for the Armed Forces.


The Committee will take evidence from Dr Susan Atkins, the Service Complaints Commissioner, in the Autumn. The session will be largely based on the Commissioner’s Annual Report for 2011, which was published in March 2012.

The Committee would welcome written submissions on the effectiveness of the Service Complaints Commissioner, including the resources and powers available to her, the complaints system (including possible improvements), and the Commissioner’s relationship with the Ministry of Defence and each of the individual Services.

Please note that the Committee is unable to discuss, deal with or investigate individual cases.   

Written submissions to the inquiry should be sent to the Clerk of the Defence Committee by Friday 7 September 2012.


Submission of written evidence should:

• If possible, be provided electronically in MS Word or Rich Text format by e-mail to  If submitted by e-mail or e-mail attachment, a letter should also be sent validating the e-mail. The letterhead should contain your full postal address and contact details. If you have any queries on the submission of evidence contact Ian Thomson, Inquiry Manager, tel: 0207 219 6951, email:
• Begin with a one page summary if it is longer than six pages
• Have numbered paragraphs
• Avoid the use of colour or expensive-to-print material.
Submissions can also be sent by post to Defence Committee, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
Individuals and organisations interested in submitting written evidence to the Committee may find the Commons: Guide for Witnesses particularly useful.

Please also note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within written evidence, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included. If a number of published documents are sent to accompany written evidence, these should be listed in the covering email.
  • Written evidence submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organization submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence. 
  •  It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
  • Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

Further Information

Specific Committee Information:  020 7219 5745

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson  020 7219 1589 / 07917 488 488

Committee Website:
Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: 

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474).  Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on


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