The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) is paving the way for culture change across the Army through its transformation programme, which began back in September 2022 under Commandant Major-General Zac Stenning. This transformation, part of wider changes taking place across Defence, has seen changes to the policies on alcohol, the creation of the sexual harassment task force and a new code of conduct.
As part of the drive by Defence to stamp out unacceptable behaviours and improve the experience for women in the Armed Forces, the Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, visited the prestigious academy today (30 March), which trains officers for the British Army. Over a 44-week course RMAS provides a unique environment for future officers to learn and grow as leaders, with an emphasis on developing leadership skills, fostering teamwork and collaboration, and promoting a strong sense of duty and service to the country.
Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said:
“Vital work has been done to create a more diverse, inclusive and supportive culture at Sandhurst and across our Armed Forces.
“From the creation of the Defence Serious Crime Unit, to zero tolerance policies for sexual misconduct, attitudes are changing and so is our response - transforming the experience and opportunities for all our personnel.”
One of the key areas of focus during the visit was the improvement of the experience for women across defence. The wider changes taking place across Defence include the introduction of improved uniform for women, free childcare for service families and the creation of the Defence Serious Crime Unit, an independent serious crime investigation capability for Defence.
Other changes in Defence include allowing serving personnel to give evidence to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, the introduction of last summer’s zero tolerance policies and a clampdown on sexual relationships between instructors and trainees across all training establishments.
Commandant Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Major General Zac Stenning, said:
“I am resetting the culture and transforming the training at Sandhurst to deliver the highest quality leaders who can fight and win wars on the Land. Sandhurst will be an inclusive, empowered and learning organisation, staffed by outstanding role models who exemplify the British Army’s Values and Standards.”
Servicewomen’s Network representative Lieutenant Colonel Elisabeth Roberts said:
“Having served in the Army for 25 years I can honestly say that I have witnessed more progress in the last two years than any time before it. There’s still plenty to do but I am confident we are moving in the right direction and that this will not just benefit women, but the whole of Defence. I also see servicemen now having the confidence to share their vulnerabilities.
“This can only be a positive thing, building trust and mutual understanding across teams and enhancing operational effectiveness and I genuinely believe that we have a leadership at the top who are committed to positive change.”
These changes recognise that our Servicewomen are an integral part of the Armed Forces and play a vital role in protecting the nation. Following the opening up of all roles in the military to women in 2018 the priority now is to ensure that all personnel feel valued and are supported to be able to have long fulfilling careers.