House of Lords to launch independent inquiry into bullying and harassment
The House of Lords Commission has tasked its external members with establishing an independent inquiry into bullying and harassment.
The inquiry, which will be conducted independently of the House, will be open to contributions from Members and Members' staff, as well as staff of the House of Lords and bicameral staff. All participants will be given the opportunity to share their experience of bullying or harassment in complete confidence.
The House of Lords Commission has decided to establish this inquiry to run alongside the House of Commons' planned second inquiry to ensure that the process of hearing the testimony of people in the Lords can begin as quickly as possible. While the exact terms of reference for the review will be set by the external members of the Commission, it is anticipated they will reflect those of Dame Laura Cox's inquiry into bullying and harassment of Commons Service staff, and the second Commons inquiry that is expected to be launched shortly covering the rest of the Commons community.
Ahead of the review, the House of Lords Administration has also agreed with the relevant trade unions that the House will immediately implement the new Independent Grievance and Complaints Procedure, which includes a Bullying and Harassment Policy and Procedure and a Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedure, currently in place in the House of Commons, for any complaints of bullying and harassment or sexual misconduct made against House of Lords staff. This will ensure complainants have access to an independent helpline and a case manager who will be assigned to assess the complaint. The complainant will also have access to independent advice and support.