The House of Lords Commission met yesterday for the first time since the publication of Naomi Ellenbogen's Report into Bullying and Harassment in the House of Lords.
The Commission agreed some initial steps in response to the recommendations in the report. These include:
- Establishing a Steering Group made up of staff, members, and others. This Group is likely to start work in the autumn and will help ensure different voices can work together to shape the House's response to the challenges identified in the Ellenbogen Report.
- The Lord Speaker, as Chairman of the Commission, will write to the new House of Lords Conduct Committee and ask that it take forward recommendations regarding changes to the Code of Conduct 'without delay'.
- All members of the Commission have agreed to take part in the House of Lords 'Valuing Everyone' training. The Leaders of the political parties in the Lords also committed that their frontbench colleagues would also undertake the training and have said that they would encourage other Peers in their party or group to do so. Lord Mance, Chair of the Conduct Committee, will also undertake the training.
Lord Speaker's comment
Commenting on the decision, Lord Fowler, Lord Speaker and Chairman of the House of Lords Commission, said:
"Some of the behaviour exhibited by both staff and members revealed in the Ellenbogen Report is entirely unacceptable. It presents a challenge to the House of Lords which we are determined to meet. Everyone deserves a workplace which has high standards of behaviour and mutual respect. As the report says, the recommendations have not been made 'with the intention that they nestle in the long grass'.
"We are now embarking on a process of change and we have agreed to establish a Steering Group made up of staff, members and others to move things forward and I will be writing to the Chair of the new Conduct Committee, Lord Mance, to ask him to take forward the recommendations relating to the Code of Conduct without delay.
"Every member of the Commission has agreed to complete the Valuing Everyone training course, the leaders of the political parties committed each member of their front benches to do the same and the Chairman of the Conduct Committee will also complete the course, but this is just a start. We are steadfast in becoming advocates for change among our colleagues.
"In the coming weeks I, together with the Senior Deputy Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith, will be meeting both members and staff to hear their reaction to the report. Bullying and harassment have no place in the House of Lords and we will work with the Administration to make things better."
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