Commission statement on the ICGS: non-recent cases and the six-month review
At its meeting on 24 June 2019, the House of Commons Commission further considered the implementation of the Dame Laura Cox report and how to improve Parliament’s working culture.
Non-recent cases of Bullying, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct
The Commission held a public consultation between 24 May and 14 June into its proposal to permit non-recent cases of bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct to be considered under Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme. The responses to the consultation, which included current and former staff of MPs and the House Service, the Centre for Women’s Justice, the Trade Union Side, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and the Committee on Standards in Public Life, were overwhelmingly supportive. As such, the Commission has ratified its decision, and the Leader of the House has agreed to work with the other parties to agree a motion, in consultation with the Commission, that would facilitate this change as soon as possible. Subject to approval by the House, implementation work will take place over the summer, including the recruitment of a bank of additional expert independent investigators, with the intention of opening up the Scheme to non-recent cases from October this year. Further details of the non-recent cases proposal can be found here. Responses to the consultation can be found here ( PDF 1.68 MB).
The Six-Month Review of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme
The Commission heard from Alison Stanley CBE FCIPD, who presented the findings of her Six-Month Review of the ICGS, and considered an action plan for implementing her recommendations. In welcoming the Report, the Commission agreed that a programme-approach would be used to implement her recommendations, drawing on expertise from across Parliament and external specialists to improve our capacity and capability. To facilitate the delivery of the improvements to the ICGS in light of the early experience of using the Scheme, the following decisions were taken:
- The Commission agreed that, subject to discussions with the House of Lords, the current ICGS team should become a bicameral service and be expanded to enable the improvements to be implemented;
- Commission members wholeheartedly agreed that all MPs should undertake the Valuing Everyone training which has been put in place as part of the ICGS, and will consider in detail how that can be achieved at its next meeting; and
- The Commission agreed to, subject to discussions with the House of Lords, investigate further the establishment of a bicameral group of members, staff and other stakeholders, which will oversee delivery of the action plan, and the future operations of ICGS.
The Commission also agreed with the view of Gemma White QC who had written to Alison Stanley suggesting that former members of the parliamentary community should be able to have their complaints heard under the ICGS (this is at present restricted to those who are currently in post). This decision was taken in principle, pending the outcome and recommendations of Gemma White’s inquiry.
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