The House of Lords Commission has asked its external members to establish an independent inquiry into bullying and harassment.
The Commission provides high-level strategic and political direction for the House of Lords Administration on behalf of the House, and includes external members as well as Members of the House.
The inquiry will be conducted independently of the House and will be open to 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 Lords inquiry will run alongside the House of Commons’ second inquiry on bullying and harassment, being led by Ms Gemma White QC, so that the testimony of people in the Lords can be heard as quickly as possible. The inquiry terms of reference will be set by the external members of the Commission, but it is anticipated they will reflect those of Dame Laura Cox’s inquiry into bullying and harassment of Commons Service staff, and the White inquiry.
Ahead of the inquiry, the House of Lords Administration has agreed with the relevant trade unions that the House will immediately implement the new Independent Complaints and Grievance Procedure (ICGP). House of Lords staff can now make use of the independent helplines and case managers, already used by House of Commons and bicameral staff, if they believe they have been subject to bullying and harassment or sexual misconduct.
The procedure will cover any complaints of bullying and harassment or sexual misconduct made against House of Lords staff.
Use of the service in the House of Lords will be reviewed in spring 2019 alongside the findings of the independent inquiry.