Skip to main content

Welfare of those in Parliament

27 October 2017

Image of UK Parliament portcullis

Statement on the welfare of those in Parliament - updated 30 July 2018

Welfare in Parliament

The House of Commons strives to be a responsive and supportive employer and we do not tolerate bullying or harassment of any kind. We are aware that in the past the House has not had a robust process in place to deal with instances of bullying and harassment.

However, we are confident that our new Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy will mean that allegations can be dealt with effectively and sensitively. The ICGP was adopted by the House on Thursday 19 July, and includes a new behaviour code and policies and procedures designed to tackle bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct at Westminster.

In March the House of Commons commission agreed that an independent Inquiry into the bullying and harassment of House staff should also be initiated. The Non-Executive members of the Commission appointed Dame Laura Cox QC to lead the Inquiry, which is now underway. Dame Laura expects to publish a report following the summer recess.

In addition the House has agreed to set up a new independent inquiry looking into historical allegations of bullying and harassment, which we expect to report in six months' time.

Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy

On 8 February 2018 the Working Group on an Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy published its report. The report, which can be viewed here, recommended a number of actions, including establishing a "Behaviour Code for Parliament", and recognising the need for an independent complaints and grievance system.

Following the report, a steering group was established to oversee the various workstreams. In July 2018, the steering group produced a report outlining its recommendations for implementing the ICGP. The House adopted measures recommended by the report on Thursday 19 July.

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

Where Members are alleged to have breached the MPs code of conduct it is possible for the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to launch an investigation. Anyone can make an allegation of misconduct, whether a member of the public or an MP. As part of the ICGP recommendations, the Commissioner now has explicit authority to investigate instances of bullying and harassment by Members of Parliament.

Committee on Standards

The work of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is overseen by the Committee on Standards. The Committee is made up of seven MPs and seven lay members, who are members of the public recruited for their expertise in related areas (such as accountability, regulation or safeguarding.)

In cases where an MP has been found to have breached the Members code of conduct, the Committee is able to make recommendations about the sanctions that should be imposed.