‘Good progress’ made in tackling unacceptable behaviour in the military

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The review – led by Danuta Gray, Non-Executive Member of the Defence Board – examined progress one year on from the Wigston Report, which looked at behaviour across defence and made 36 recommendations to stamp out incidents of inappropriate conduct.

Since the Wigston Report’s publication, a new helpline has been set up to provide support for service personnel experiencing or witnessing bullying, harassment or discrimination and ‘active bystander’ training has been completed by 30,000 personnel. The new training, which has been made mandatory, aims to change behaviour by encouraging those who witness unacceptable conduct to call it out.

Guidance and training on issues such as diversity and inclusion and reporting sexual harassment have also been refreshed, with essential training available to all personnel irrespective of rank.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said:

While the vast majority of our remarkable Armed Forces hold themselves to the highest standards, there is sadly still a minority who exhibit unacceptable behaviours.

We have made some excellent progress in the last year, as shown through the creation of the anti-bullying helpline and active bystander training, but we know there is still more to do.

I would like to thank Danuta for her report and look forward to driving improvements in the upcoming months.

As well as recognising areas of progress, the review released today highlights some areas where the implementation of the Wigston recommendations has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. For example, preparatory work to assess where to conduct training was affected in early 2020 to help relieve pressure on the Army, Navy and RAF as they supported the government in its Covid-19 response.

Non-Executive Member of the Defence Board Danuta Gray said:

Good progress has been made implementing the recommendations across Defence.

While the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic meant some work was paused earlier this year, there has been much to be proud of and I look forward to seeing improvements develop in due course.

The review led by Danuta Gray has recommended 13 actions to further drive forward the recommendations made in the Wigston report, including helping leaders provide advice about dealing with unacceptable behaviours, and building awareness of individuals’ lived experience through teaching and training.

The Ministry of Defence will now consider how best to take forward each recommendation.

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