Most of the time performance issues are dealt with by feedback, support, and coaching. However, if performance issues are not resolved in this way, there is a process that could lead to your discharge. This process is called a Cat DE discharge process. If the matter relates to a conduct issue, then the process is called a Cat DF discharge process.

If a commanding officer considers that a service person’s performance is ineffectual or inefficient, they raise a report detailing the performance shortcomings, any support that has been provided, and that the person’s retention is under consideration.

Once this report is written, the service person affected has the opportunity to make comment. The commanding officer will consider any comment, and then decide what to do next. If the commanding officer decides that further action is required, they will put the person on a formal written warning. This warning will last for at least three months, during which time the person is given support and the opportunity to improve. At the end of the warning period, if the commanding officer thinks that the performance issue has not been resoled, they have a range of options. They can extend the warning period to give the service person more time to improve, or recommend that they be demoted to a lower rank, reassigned to another trade, or discharged. Before a decision is made, the service person is given another opportunity to make comment. The matter then goes to the relevant decision maker, who is normally a Service Chief but it could be a delegate. The decision maker decides what should happen.

If the service person is unhappy with the result, they can make a complaint. The complaint will often be about procedural errors, for example if the process did not follow the rules set out in the relevant publication. A service person may complain that the decision was pre-determined, or they did not have the opportunity to make comment, or did not get support or the opportunity to demonstrate improvement. There are many potential grounds of complaint and Frontline Law can help you identify these.

Frontline Law is a team of talented lawyers, most of whom have previously served in the Armed Forces, New Zealand Police, and other uniformed organisations. 

The first step in getting support is to talk with a lawyer from Frontline Law about your situation and see what options we can offer you. Contact Frontline Law for a free initial consultation.