Service complaints/discipline


01   Making a Service complaint

Where can I get general information and advice about Service complaints?

Guidance, information and points of contact about the Service complaints process are available at

The MOD has also produced a leaflet to give an easy to read short summary of the process and what to expect.

The Service Complaints Ombudsman provides independent and impartial oversight of the Service complaints system for members of the Armed Forces. Its website provides information and advice for Service personnel and their families.

Service personnel can also obtain further information from the Guide to Army complaints leaflet.

Can partners or spouses of Service personnel make a formal Service complaint on their behalf?

No, only a Service person can submit a Service complaint.

The Service Complaints Ombudsman understands that the partner of a Service person may have concerns about how a loved one has been treated and welcomes contact from family members, whether to ask for information or provide feedback on the system. However, the Ombudsman cannot accept a complaint from a family member or talk to them about the serving person’s complaint without their express consent.

How can Service personnel make a Service complaint?

They can either:

  • Submit a written complaint to their chain of command using Annex F of JSP 831
  • Ask the Service Complaints Ombudsman for the Armed Forces to refer their complaint to the chain of command
  • Submit their complaint to the Army Service Complaints Secretariat

For more information on how to make a complaint and time limits for doing so, see the Service Complaints Ombudsman website.

What if the Service person only wants to make an informal complaint?

They should talk to their chain of command. The Army would always recommend an informal approach to any grievance resolution, through either the use of mediation or discussion with the parties involved.

Speak Out, the Army’s confidential bullying, harassment and discrimination helpline can also offer support and advice (0306 770 4656).

You may also find the Service Complaints Ombudsman website helpful.

Is there another way to make a complaint?

Depending on the issue the Service person has, they may be another process for raising this, other than a Service complaint; e.g. grievances about medical issues or pay and allowances.

Service personnel can obtain more information about the correct process for their complaint from their unit admin team. 

I understand that only the Service person can make a formal complaint but how can the Ombudsman support family members?

The Service Complaints Ombudsman has produced a helpful leaflet with this information.

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02   Being the respondent in a Service complaint

The Service person has been told they are a respondent in a Service complaint. What does that mean?

Not all Service complaints involve a respondent but sometimes a person may be named in a complaint as the respondent. That means that the complaint is against them or something that they have allegedly done or said. 

How will the Service person be told about being a respondent?

If the Service person is a respondent, they will be informed by the person responsible for deciding the Service complaint – this is normally, but not always, someone in their chain of command; for example their Commanding Officer. They will be provided with the details of who has raised the complaint, what it is about and be given a copy of the complaint. They will also be offered an Assisting Officer to advise and support them through the process.

The Army has provided a helpful guide for respondents in a Service complaint, which provides details of the process and where to get more information.

A Wellbeing and Support leaflet for Complainants and Respondents is also a useful source of information.

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03   Military discipline and administrative processes

The Service person has been accused of a military offence and has been told they are now subject to disciplinary proceedings. What does this mean?

The military has the ability to investigate, determine and punish military offences (and in some circumstances, civilian offences). It also has administrative processes that are akin to civil employment law.

A Service person may be charged by the military with an offence. If this happens to your Service person, information about the process is available at

The leaflet ‘What happens if I’m in trouble with the Army’ provides a simple overview of Army’s processes.

The Service person has been told they will be subject to an AGAI 67 investigation or will receive an AGAI 67 sanction. What does this mean?

Service personnel who are accused of behaviour that has a negative impact on the operational effectiveness of the Army, can be subject to formal warnings or sanctions, as directed in the document Army General & Administrative Instruction, Chapter 67 (AGAI 67). This is sometimes referred to informally as being ‘AGAIed’.

They could also be subject to administrative discharge processes, if their continued employment is considered incompatible with the Service interest.

Service personnel should seek advice from their chain of command. They must be offered an Assisting Officer to advise them through the process. The family can seek support from their welfare team.

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04   The Service person has been sent to the Military Corrective Training Centre (MCTC). Is there support for the family?

The MCTC website contains useful information for detainees and their family.

The welfare team at MCTC can provide information and support to families whose Service person has been sent there. The Welfare Office Manager is contactable Monday to Friday, 0900-1230 and 1330-1600 on: 01206 816751. Outside normal working hours and on Bank Holidays, families should contact the Main Gate on 01206 816757.

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05   Support

Where can we get support during this process?

Support is available from:

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