Deadline extended: independent inquiry into bullying and harassment in the House of Lords
19 December 2018
The deadline for contributions to the independent inquiry into bullying and harassment in the House of Lords has been extended to 6.00pm on Thursday 31 January 2019. The inquiry is being conducted by Naomi Ellenbogen QC.
Extending the deadline for contributions, Ms Ellenbogen commented,
"I have been greatly assisted by the many thoughtful contributions that I have already received. I encourage as many people as possible to come forward by the extended deadline, so that my findings and recommendations will be as well-informed and useful as possible."
The extended deadline is the date by which written contributions and requests for a meeting, or conversation, with Ms Ellenbogen should be made. You can contact Ms Ellenbogen by e-mail, at NEQCInquiry@littletonchambers.co.uk, or by post, addressed to her at Littleton Chambers, 3 King's Bench Walk North, Temple, London EC4Y 7HR, marked ‘Private and Confidential'.
Ms Ellenbogen's role is to establish the nature and extent of any bullying and harassment experienced by past and present Members and staff of the House of Lords and to make appropriate recommendations for improving the workplace culture and the handling of complaints. For the purposes of this inquiry, ‘past' means former staff and Members of the House of Lords who have worked for, or in, the House of Lords within the past six years. Ms Ellenbogen's inquiry seeks contributions from:
- House of Lords Administration staff (including agency and interim staff), and employee representative groups;
- Peers, including the Bishops;
- Peers' staff (excluding those engaged in a private capacity unconnected with the House of Lords); and
- Staff of the House of Commons, MPs' staff, and staff of shared or bicameral services in Parliament, such as the Parliamentary Security Department and Parliamentary Digital Service, where they wish to speak about instances relating to Peers, Peers' staff or House of Lords Administration staff.
About the appointment
Ms Naomi Ellenbogen QC has been appointed to conduct the inquiry into the nature and extent of bullying and harassment (including sexual harassment and any systemic behaviours) of past and present members of, and staff employed by, the House of Lords.
Her appointment follows a decision by the House of Lords Commission, on 5 November 2018, to ask its two independent members, Liz Hewitt and Mathew Duncan, to identify an independent expert to look at these issues and agree suitable terms of reference for the inquiry. It is currently anticipated that Ms Ellenbogen's findings and recommendations will be laid before the House of Lords Commission in the Spring of 2019.
The inquiry will consider issues impacting directly on the culture of the House of Lords as a workplace. It is an inquiry, not an investigation. Ms Ellenbogen will, therefore, not be investigating any individual complaints, or reopening past cases. The inquiry will, however, consider the options available for resolving current and historical allegations and the support available to those affected. It will make recommendations for improvement of the workplace culture, so that all those working in the House of Lords are treated with dignity and respect. It will also make recommendations for improvement of the way in which complaints of bullying and harassment are handled.
Ms Ellenbogen will shortly be writing to all current members and staff of the House of Lords asking them to come forward with any information regarding perceived bullying or harassment. She will also be writing to those who were members or staff during the last six years. Those members and staff, both present and past, who have experienced bullying or harassment, or who have information about it, will be able to submit written information directly to Ms Ellenbogen with confidential, follow-up meetings, as necessary.
No contributor to the inquiry will be identified and all submissions will be treated in complete confidence.
The work of the inquiry will be in addition to, but separate from, the continuing work of the Working Group on an Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy.
Announcing the appointment, The Lord Speaker said:
“As chairman of the House of Lords Commission, I am delighted that Ms Naomi Ellenbogen QC has been appointed to conduct the inquiry into the nature and extent of bullying and harassment here in the House of Lords. Her experience and expertise are formidable. I would encourage anyone who has experienced bullying and harassment in the course of their work at or with the House of Lords to come forward. I emphasise that this is an entirely independent inquiry which will examine all evidence thoroughly. Bullying and harassment has no place in the House of Lords and I can give a categorical assurance that we will do everything we can to eliminate it.”