Select Committee on Armed Forces Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex E

Partnership Agreement



  1.  The Commission for Racial Equality ("the Commission") between April 1994 and March 1996 conducted a formal investigation into recruitment and other personnel practices of the Ministry of Defence (Household Cavalry).

  2.  In a report published on 28 March 1996, the Commission concluded that the Ministry of Defence (Household Cavalry) had committed acts of unlawful discrimination under the following headings:

    —  indirect discrimination in officer recruitment and selection;

    —  direct discrimination in soldier recruitment and selection;

    —  direct discrimination in postings of other corps and regiments;

    —  abuse and harassment of ethnic minority soldiers; and

    —  instructions or inducements to discriminate.

  3.  The Commission having notified the Ministry of Defence of its intention to issue a Non-Discrimination Notice and the Ministry of Defence representations having been received, the Commission and Ministry of Defence on 28 March 1996 entered into an Agreement under the terms of which

    —  the MoD agreed to comply with the undertakings set out in the "Action Plan" appended to the Agreement for a period of five years from the date of the Agreement;

    —  the Commission agreed to refrain from making the decision to issue a Non-Discrimination Notice for a period of one year from the date of the Agreement and, provided the Commission is satisfied that the undertakings have been complied with, agrees at the end of that period to abandon altogether the question of a Non-Discrimination Notice.

  4.  The Commission, in March 1998, is satisfied that the Ministry of Defence has made sufficient progress towards compliance with the undertakings in the Action Plan and accordingly has agreed to abandon the question of a Non-Discrimination Notice in respect of the said formal investigation.

  5.  The Ministry of Defence, under the terms of the Agreement in March 1996, remains bound to continued compliance with the Action Plan which has required procedures, monitoring and training to be put in place for a further three years.

  6.  The Commission acknowledges the commitment at the top levels of the Armed Forces to increase the proportions of serving ethnic minority personnel and to achieve greater racial equality, exemplified by the acceptance of the Leadership Challenge by the Chief of the Defence Staff and the single Service Chiefs of Staff.

  7.  The Commission notes the targets for recruitment of ethnic minorities by each of the Services announced by the Minister for the Armed Forces on 22 January 1998, namely 2 per cent in 1998-99, 3 per cent in 1999-2000, 4 per cent in 2000-01 and 5 per cent in 2001-02. The Commission recognises the increased effort and resources which each of the Services is devoting to outreach and positive action activities to encourage ethnic minority men and women to enlist.

  8.  The Armed Forces, acknowledging past failures in the field of race relations, are now committed to achieving permanent change. As well as striving to achieve the recruitment targets announced by the Government, each of the Services will continue to take action to improve retention of ethnic minority servicemen and women, which includes implementing measures to prevent racial harassment and discrimination and providing effective procedures to deal with complaints of harassment and discrimination.


  9.  The Commission for Racial Equality and the Ministry of Defence now wish to work together on a basis of partnership for a period of five years, from 25 March 1998, for the following purposes:

  10.  To ensure continued compliance by the Ministry of Defence with the Action Plan which was annexed to the 1996 CRE-MoD Agreement;

  11.  To promote racial equality within the Armed Forces;

  12.  To build upon the cooperation and positive relationship which has developed during the first two years of the Action Plan.

  13.  To see the Armed Forces go beyond the requirements of the Action Plan, which has facilitated the establishment of procedures, monitoring and training, to achieve real progress in qualitative terms, particularly in relation to the following priority areas:

    —  achievement of recruitment targets;

    —  continuing objective examination of possible barriers to ethnic minority recruitment and action to remove any such barriers;

    —  retention of service personnel from all ethnic backgrounds;

    —  continuing objective examination of reason for premature voluntary release;

    —  increased numbers of ethnic minority officers at higher ranks through the successful application of racial equality policies;

    —  continuing objective examination of possible barriers to ethnic minority promotion and action to remove any such barriers;

    —  action to establish and maintain environment and standards of behaviour at every level which are non-racist and non-discriminatory;

    —  effective action to prevent racist abuse, bullying and harassment;

    —  clear lines of accountability for discrimination and racist behaviour;

    —  effective and robust monitoring of racial equality policies;

    —  assessment of equal opportunity performance as part of the annual appraisal of each serviceman or woman.


  14.  The Ministry of Defence will continue to comply with the undertakings of the March 1996 Action Plan including regular report to and discussion with the Commission.

  15.  Additionally each of the Services will report annually to the Commission on performance in respect of the above, which are acknowledged as necessary in order to achieve institutional and/or cultural change. Meetings between nominated Commissioners and senior representatives of the three Services to review progress will take place approximately every six months, as well as meetings at officer level from time to time as appropriate.

  16.  The Commission will continue, within the constraints of its resources, to provide advice, guidance and support to the Armed Forces in their pursuit of racial equality.

  17.  Where appropriate, the Commission will provide information to Racial Equality Councils or other community organisations to facilitate their cooperation with the MoD and with the activities of the separate Services to encourage ethnic minority recruitment.

  18.  If at any time during the currency of this Partnership Agreement the Commission should be of the view that the expected rates of progress have not been maintained by any of the Services the Commission retains the right to intervene by way of advice or other action as appropriate.

  19.  Nothing in this Agreement shall prevent the Commission from providing advice and assistance to individual members of the Armed Forces under Section 66 of the Race Relations Act.

Sir Herman Ouseley,

Chairman, Commission for Racial Equality

Sir Charles Guthrie, GCB, LVO, OBE, ADC Gen

Chief of the Defence Staff

25 March 1998

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