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Old 06-06-21, 10:43 PM
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yorkstone yorkstone is offline
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Default UK Veterans treated disgracefully

Whether you agree with a British National Defence Medal or not this update from Colonel Terry Scriven is an incredible read the thing’s brought up here are

To be honest extremely disturbing and if only a fraction are correct disgusting treatment of UK Veterans.

I have written to my own MP the PM And the Leader of the opposition my own MP was a total waste of time but since I copied her in to my letter to the PM again she has contacted me again ( I wonder why)

This comedy of errors needs to be addressed and answers need to be given. As to why all the skulduggery.

Incidentally my Grandfather WW 2 Veteran (1946 Palestine) Father (1957 Malay) and my self 1980’s BAOR would receive the NDM in Australia and New Zealand under there criteria.

So why not UK troops?

Sincerely

Stephen

NEW YEAR 2021 NEWSLETTER
FROM COLONEL TERRY SCRIVEN
CHAIR OF THE UK NATIONAL DEFENCE MEDAL CAMPAIGN

May I take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a safe and healthy 2021 at this difficult time, which has been caused by Covid-19.

The publication of this newsletter has purposely been delayed until 31st January. This was to allow time for the Chair of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) to provide an update on his internal review, of the mismanagement of the PHSO investigation, into the discredited Cabinet Office sponsored 2012-14 Military Medals Review (MMR) process. The newsletter also includes the results of my application, on your behalf, to the High Court for a Judicial Review of the MMR. In addition, it provides an update on the progress of our request to the Head of the Civil Service, who is also the Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office, for an investigation into the potential contravention by senior civil servants of the Civil Service Code and alleged failings of the Committee for Honours, Decorations and Medals (HD Committee) involvement in the MMR.

My newsletter always attracts new readers, I therefore make no apologies for briefly explaining why the UK National Defence Medal (NDM) campaign was first established and why the 2012-14 MMR is considered discredited.

UK NDM Campaign
The NDM campaign was established in 2007. It came about through the leaders of the various veteran medal campaign groups such as National Service, Cold War, Korea Post Armistice, Sub Mariners and Nuclear Testing, failing to achieve medallic recognition for their individual group medal submissions. Some dating back to 1945 and others back to the 1960s. Many of those in the medal campaign groups are ill and frail, and many dying through old age or indeed the illnesses suffered due to their military service. These groups therefore decided that should their individual medal submissions fail, the institution of a generic NDM would provide their veterans a last opportunity, in their lifetime, to achieve medallic recognition of their service to the Nation.

Discredited Military Medals Review
Prime Minister Cameron was sympathetic to the plight of the military medal campaign groups, and in early 2010 made a commitment to carry out a review of all outstanding medal claims. He assured veterans there would be a fair and transparent review, aimed at removing the injustice and inconsistency, which had existed over the past 60 years, and that a definitive line would be drawn on the matter once and for all.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) had two attempts at carrying out the MMR in 2010 and 2011. Both attempts failed to address the issues. Consequently in 2012, Prime Minister Cameron removed the responsibility from the MoD and placed it with the Cabinet Office.
The Cabinet Office sponsored 2012-14 MMR had a public function and duty to evaluate all submissions placed before it by the military medal campaign groups, address the injustice and inconsistencies in medallic recognition, and draw a definitive line on the issue once and for all. It did not do so.

Activities by senior civil servants, during and after this MMR, indicated a failure to follow appropriate procedures. Displaying a lack of due diligence, openness, transparency, and fairness when assessing the submissions made by the military medal campaign groups. Within the Cabinet Office Honours Secretariat, a strategy of misinformation about the MMR process appeared to exist. Attempts were also made to keep information out of the public domain. This, understandably, led to accusations of an alleged cover up of the maladministration and dysfunctional MMR process. More recently the Cabinet Office appear to have been responsible for misleading the PHSO about the MMR. Such actions, if shown to be founded, have contravened the Civil Service Code. It is therefore considered to be in the Nation’s interest these allegations are transparently investigated.

On behalf of the military campaign groups, I brought these perceived failures to the attention of the Minister responsible for the Cabinet Office. The Minister had a public function and duty to review those submissions made to the MMR for medallic recognition, which had either not been reviewed or reviewed appropriately. However, he failed to take any action. In addition, the Prime Minister’s Office had been regularly briefed by me, on behalf of the medal campaign groups, about these failings but also failed to take any remedial action. This was considered a breach of its public function, duty, and its responsibility for the MMR it had established, thereby enabling the failings of the Cabinet Office to go unchecked.

The Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman Investigation
I am aware of the effective work that the PHSO carry out within its Charter, the professionalism of those who carry out that work and who represent it. Unfortunately, in respect of the complaint submitted to it, via the Rt Hon Ian Blackford MP, by Dr Martin Halligan, the leader of the medal campaign for those Injured in Conflict, there were significant failings.
Dr Halligan’s complaint was submitted on 11 August 2019, just over four weeks after the Minister for the Cabinet Office, on 12 July 2019, closed-down all possibilities of the medal submissions, which had not been reviewed appropriately or not at all, being assessed by the reopening of the MMR. He requested the PHSO to:

“Investigate a complaint that injustice has been caused by the maladministration on the part of the Cabinet Office in respect of the Military Medals Review and involvement in what appears to have been an attempt to cover up what was a dysfunctional process.”

The PHSO effectively sat on Dr Halligan’s request for an investigation into the Cabinet Office’s MMR process for over a year. A letter from a PHSO senior caseworker to Dr Halligan and myself, indicated that the Cabinet Office had been involved in the PHSO failure to investigate the complaint. This was however denied by a barrister, acting for the Cabinet Office, in their submission to the High Court in response to our application for a Judicial Review.

In November 2020 I requested, on Dr Halligan’s behalf, that the Chair of the PHSO carry out an internal review as to why Dr Halligan’s request for an investigation of the Cabinet Office sponsored MMR was not correctly processed within its Charter.

It appears the delay in dealing with Dr Halligan’s request for an investigation and my request for an internal review was due to them being kept from the Chair. A PHSO investigations-manager who is the supervisor of the senior caseworkers involved in Dr Halligan’s complaint, replied to my request for an internal review, attempting to brush everything aside. In reply to the PHSO, I made it clear each PHSO Board Member would be briefed on the mishandling of Dr Halligan’s serious complaint and my request for an internal review unless they were addressed by the Chair or his representative. It is understood that my request for an internal review has now been passed to the Chair. Despite allowing time for a response on this matter, there has still been no communication from the Chair of the PHSO.

Application to the High Court
By the end of August 2020, various medal campaign group leaders considered that after a year of procrastination by the PHSO and five years of Judicial Tribunals, in attempting to seek the truth and trying to right a wrong, the only way forward was through a Judicial Review. It was however, still thought possible that an application for a Judicial Review could be avoided, by attempting yet again, to apprise Prime Minister Johnson and the Minister for the Cabinet Office, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, of the unsatisfactory situation. Consequently, my letter to both, dated 1st September 2020, specifically sought their support to resolve the sensitive matter of the MMR. It was thought once they saw the evidence, they would direct the issues of the discredited MMR be dealt with by the Cabinet Office. We were wrong. The only communication received was from a Government Legal Department solicitor who had been instructed to represent the Cabinet Office. This was a surprise. Sadly, like the Chair of the PHSO, it is doubtful Prime Minister Johnson or Mr Gove have been made aware of what has taken place in respect of the Nation’s veterans.

The statutory requirement to be able to initiate a Judicial Review, is that not more than three months should have elapsed after the grounds to make the claim first occurred. The barrister, on behalf of the Cabinet Office, submitted to the High Court Judge that those grounds first arose in respect of the 2012-14 MMR on 29 July 2014, when Baroness Stowell made the written ministerial statement on its findings to the House of Lords. However, at that time the military medal campaign groups had no evidence whatsoever of wrong-doing or even three months after, that anything untoward had taken place in the MMR process, other than their suspicions.

The Cabinet Office also sought costs for preparing the acknowledgement of service in respect of my application as a Litigant in Person for a Judicial Review (unregistered organisations such as the medal campaign groups are unable to make applications for a Judicial Review).
The application for a Judicial Review was heard in the High Court on 19 November 2020. It was clear the Cabinet Office legal team had put all their efforts into relying on the statutory time limit. Little reference was made to our 620 pages of evidence, which portrayed the dysfunctionality and maladministration of the MMR and the alleged contravention of the Civil Service Code by senior civil servants. This showed a total disrespect of the service given by our Armed Forces veterans to the Nation.

It had been thought that evidence obtained, by the medal campaign groups from their separate involvement in nine Freedom of Information Act Judicial Tribunals, together with the questionable conduct of senior civil servants and delays brought about by the Cabinet Office in the judicial process, would have been sufficient to obtain agreement from the Judge to waive the three-month statutory time limit.

We were wrong. The Judge found in favour of the Cabinet Office, stating inter alia,
“I am therefore satisfied that it would not be fair, just, or reasonable to extend time in this case. The time limits are there for a reason. The duty of promptitude is obvious: it enables cases to be dealt with timeously and for justice to be administered on a fair and proportionate basis.”

In addition, the Judge directed I should pay the Cabinet Office their legal fees of £5,750. I had 14 days in which to appeal but did not do so. Unless an Appeal Court was going to look beyond the ‘statutory time limit’ argument, the strength of our case, which laid bare the MMR process, would not be heard.

Complaint to the Head of the Civil Service
Mr Chisholm, is the Head of the Civil Service, now designated the Chief Operations Officer for the Civil Service, and is the Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office. He has been requested by me to investigate the alleged contraventions of the Civil Service Code which appear to have taken place both during and after the 2012-14 MMR. These include: the loss of Government Department documents; failure of the sub-committee of the HD Committee to appropriately review the medal submissions, some not at all; unsound decisions made by the HD Committee, misleading statements by the Head of the Honours Secretariat to two Judicial Tribunals; lack of remedial action by the HD Committee when made aware of the failings of the MMR process; absence of HD Committee members from its meetings; inadequate investigations into the failings which exonerated everyone and everything; production and promulgation of erroneous NDM costs both in the Ministerial Statement on 29 July 2014 and subsequently to Parliament; misuse and failure to account for taxpayers’ money and more recently provision of misinformation to the PHSO.

In addition, to this request, I have asked Mr Chisholm to determine whether the person who instructed the Government Legal Department to challenge my application for a Judicial Review, without first exploring a resolution and replying to the conciliatory letter dated 1st September 2020 to Prime Minister Johnson and Mr Gove, was one of those civil servants who is alleged to have contravened the Civil Service Code during the 2012-14 MMR or in subsequent actions relating to it. If that turns out to be the situation, such an action is considered an extremely serious contravention of the Code. I will seek guidance from Mr Chisholm as to what action should be taken and request the Cabinet Office to waiver their legal costs.

The latest communication from Mr Chisholm’s Private Secretary on 22 December 2020, stated that he had gathered the necessary information and would hope to write to me after the Christmas break with a fuller update. On 14 January 2021, I sent the Private Secretary a draft copy of this newsletter, requesting he highlight any inaccuracies, and provided him an opportunity to suggest any amendments or additional information for inclusion. So far, no further correspondence has been received from Mr Chisholm’s office.

Addressing Injustice and Inconsistency
I accept there is an argument as to why the MoD and Cabinet Office may believe former servicemen and women should not receive backdated medallic recognition. However, looking back on my twelve years as the co-Chair/Chair of the UK NDM campaign, and representing the leaders of other medal campaign groups, it is difficult to understand why those who have served and kept the Nation safe and secure, are denied an open and transparent medal review, where their submissions are fairly assessed. I also find, what appears to have been an attempt to cover up what has taken place, both during and after the 2012-2014 MMR, quite shameful.

If it were not for the Covid-19 pandemic, I am sure there would be overwhelming concern across the Nation and in the media, that three military medal reviews, established by former Prime Minister Cameron, with the aim of addressing the injustice and inconstancy of medallic recognition of our veterans, have been discredited, together with potential breaches of the Civil Service Code by senior civil servants involved. There would, I am sure, also be concern that a reputable organisation such as the PHSO has procrastinated on its involvement in addressing the failings of the MMR process for over a year.

I have spoken to leaders of various medal campaign groups, veterans, and some of the next of kin of those medal campaigners no longer with us. They would be content to draw a line on this distasteful episode in exchange for an open and transparent review, which assesses fairly those medal submissions which were not reviewed or not reviewed appropriately during the 2012-14 MMR.

None of the medal campaign groups involved or those representing them have political affiliations. However, it is appropriate I should record appreciation to the Rt Hon Ian Blackford MP and the staff of his Constituency Office for Ross, Skye, and Lochaber, for the support they have shown to their constituent Dr Halligan and veterans, in enabling his request to be submitted to the PHSO for an investigation into the Cabinet Office sponsored MMR.

You may consider, having read this newsletter, it is worth sending a copy to your local MP for information.
Keep safe in these difficult times.
Yours with best wishes
Terry Scriven
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Old 08-06-21, 01:03 PM
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Old 08-06-21, 04:23 PM
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Serving members and veterans of the Armed Services will always be treated as 3rd class citizens.
Andy
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Leave to carry on Sir please.
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Old Yesterday, 01:39 PM
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Thanks Andy
Regards
Stephen
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