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Army: Counselling

Volume 507: debated on Monday 8 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will investigate the reason for the increase in spending by his Department between 2003 and 2008 on counselling services for new recruits or Phase 1 trainees to the Army; and if he will make a statement. (320833)

Following the Blake Report and the Government’s response in June 2006, the Army has striven further to ensure that the best welfare provision is in place for soldiers under training. We have made improvements in the level of welfare support available to new recruits, as well as in the way in which we monitor and report incidents. For example, the implementation of the Army’s Suicide Vulnerability Risk Management Policy represents a major stride, since the tragic events at Deepcut, in our drive to reduce the incidence of suicide in the Army. We have also improved the military complaints process and increased supervisory levels in establishments with new recruits.

The Army’s efforts to improve the welfare support available to recruits and trainees are having an effect. According to the results of the 2009 tri-service Recruit Trainee Survey over 90 per cent. of recruits and trainees consider that they are well looked after and fully understand the support that is there should they require it. An Ofsted report in June 2009 found that the support and care provided to recruits and trainees was comprehensive and wide ranging.