‘Commonsense and Understanding’: Recommendations from the Defence Committee’s Duty of Care report that are still outstanding 10 years on
This report highlights seven recommendations from the Defence Committee’s report Duty of Care: Third Report of Session 2004-05 which have not been partially or fully implemented, and around which substantial concerns remain.
This report then discusses the concept of 'in loco parentis' and 'moral obligation' with regard to the army's duty of care towards young recruits, noting that the Defence Committee were concerned in 2005 that the MoD distinguished too rigidly between legal and moral obligations, with the latter as less important.
In 2005, the Defence Committee discussed the lack of balance beween training needs and considerations for operational effectiveness, and thus made its recommendations. Ten years on, it is apparent that operational arguments, and current difficulties meeting recruiting targets, continue to prevent the armed forces from reviewing both their position on enlisting under-18s, and their recruitment practices and materials.
This report highlights that peace education is not being promoted in schools. This is counter to the recommendations made by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to the UK Government that peace education should be part of the curriculum. This raises concerns particularly with the increased promotion of the military within schools through the Department for Education's 'military ethos' programme and free military-related learning resources, and as the armed forces continue to conduct a substantial 'youth engagement' programme.
This briefing is a response to the 2012-13 Welsh Assembly Petitions Committee’s investigation into UK armed forces ‘recruitment’ in schools in Wales, following the petition Stop the Army Recruiting in Schools (P-04-432) submitted by the Fellowship of Reconciliation Wales. The Petition Committee’s final report on their consideration of the petition was published in June 2015.
The recruitment agenda behind the UK armed forces’ ‘engagement’ with students in schools and colleges
This briefing is a compilation of evidence that contradicts the MoD and armed forces' claims that they don’t recruit in schools and that 'engaging' with students does not have a recruitment purpose.
The report is published in conjunction with the video The British Armed Forces: Propaganda in the classroom? produced by Quaker Peace & Social Witness. This report explains why the British Armed Forces Learning Resource (published in September 2014 by the Prime Minister's Office) is a poor quality educational resource, and exposes the resource as a politically-driven attempt to promote recruitment into the armed forces and “military values” in schools.
The report, compiled by ForcesWatch, is based on figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from the armed forces on their visits to Scottish schools. It has been co-sponsored by the Educational Institute of Scotland which has expressed concerns that some armed forces visits may have a recruitment purpose. Also see Armed forces visits to schools in Scotland: An update for 2016-2017
This paper, published by ForcesWatch and Child Soldiers International, shows that the taxpayer would save approximately £50 million per annum if the minimum age of recruitment were raised to 18; it would also result in the army needing to find about 211 fewer new recruits annually, based on current numbers joining the trained strength. The paper concludes that the case to cease recruiting from age 16 is now overwhelming and urges a full, independent review of the policy, with a view to phasing out the recruitment of minors as an unnecessary, cost-ineffective, and fundamentally unethical practice.
A short film made by Headliners and ForcesWatch, 2014Why does the military have a 'youth engagement' policy and why is the government promoting 'military ethos' within education? What is the impact of military activities taking place in schools? ForcesWatch have been working with the charity Headliners and a group of young people in London to produce this short film which explores these questions and gives teenagers the opportunity to voice their reaction to the military’s interest in their lives.
Why does the UK military have a 'youth engagement' policy and why is the UK government promoting 'military ethos' within education? What is the impact of military activities taking place in schools? ForcesWatch and Headliners worked with a group of young people in London to produce this short film which explores these questions. These discussion points can be used in education and youth groups.