Ombudsman for the Defence Forces

2013-14 Annual Report

19 October 2015

Ombudsman for Defence Forces Reports Increase in Military Complaints Awaiting Recommendation and Highlights Need for Co-Ordinated Effort in Reducing Delays



The Ombudsman for the Defence Forces, Mr. Patrick Anthony McCourt, has reported an increase in the level of complaints reported to his Office during 2013 and 2014 compared to 2010 and 2011. This continues the overall upward trend identified in 2012. In the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces Combined Annual Report for 2013 and 2014, which was published today, the Ombudsman reported that “124 Notifications of Complaints were received from serving and former members of the Defence Forces during 2013. 112 Notifications of Complaint were received in 2014. These totals of 124 notifications for 2013 and 112 notifications for 2014 show a continuing increase, identified in 2012, on the 78 notifications recorded in 2011 and the 62 recorded in 2010. As flagged in my 2012 Report, the implementation of new promotion procedures for both officers and NCO’s during 2012 has contributed significantly to the referral of complaints”.


The total number of complaints notified to the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces over the two year period covered by his Report was 236. Due primarily to legal proceedings in the High Court and resultant legal constraints on the activities of the Office the number of cases on hands, at various stages of consideration, increased from 55 on the 1st January 2013 to 100 on the 31st December 2014. Some 34 cases were brought to final determination during the same period.


“My Office was consulted by the Department of Defence in relation to its draft proposals to update the current Redress of Wrongs process. I have offered to assist in any way I can to contribute to an earlier resolution of complaints. The current system includes delays which are unacceptable and a co-ordinated effort to reduce those delays is necessary. This and other changes may, of course, require amendment to the legislative and regulatory framework”.


During 2013, the Ombudsman had 100 cases under investigation. The largest category of complaints related to the administration and management of the selection procedures for promotion within the Defence Forces. The grounds and causes giving rise to these complaints were as follows:



  • 40 related to non-selection for promotion;

  • 27 related to general maladministration;

  • 14 related to non-selection for a career-related course;

  • 10 related to non-selection for overseas service or a particular posting; and

  • 9 related to interpersonal issues.




During 2014, the Ombudsman had 115 cases under investigation. Again, the largest category of complaints related to the administration and management of the selection procedures for promotion within the Defence Forces. The grounds and causes giving rise to these complaints were as follows:



  • 53 related to non-selection for promotion;

  • 27 related to general maladministration;

  • 15 related to non-selection for a career-related course;

  • 13 related to non-selection for overseas service or a particular posting; and

  • 7 related to interpersonal issues.




ENDS.



CONTACT:  Brian O’Neill, Head of Office, ODF, 01 6633222


                       Email - brian.o’neill@odf.ie   


A copy of the Combined Annual Report of the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces 2013 and 2014 is available at www.odf.ie