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Employee Assistance Programme (2017)

Request

Please confirm how many phonecalls have been made to the confidential helpline for parliamentary staff to report sexual abuse or harassment in the workplace since it was established.

In each case, please confirm:

1. The date (approximate if necessary) of the call and the allegations it related to
2. As much detail as possible about the allegations, and at least a summary of the allegations made.
3. Whether the allegations related to an MP or a member of the House of Lords
4. Whether the subject of the allegation was male or female
5. What action was taken as a result of the allegation.

Response

We have interpreted your request to be for information about the confidential helpline for Members’ staff which is part of an Employee Assistance Programme currently run by Health Assured. This programme provides, amongst other benefits, a free 24/7 confidential helpline. The service allows staff to discuss and seek advice on personal and professional issues, including:
· Health and well-being information
· Financial issues
· General advice on employment law
· Stress at home or work and relationship matters
Additionally, face-to-face counselling sessions can be offered where appropriate.

Please confirm how many phone calls have been made to the confidential helpline for parliamentary staff to report sexual abuse or harassment in the workplace since it was established.
In each case, please confirm:

  1. The date (approximate if necessary) of the call and the allegations it related to
    And
  2. As much detail as possible about the allegations, and at least a summary of the allegations made.
    And
  3. Whether the allegations related to an MP or a member of the House of Lords
    And
  4. Whether the subject of the allegation was male or female
    And
  5. What action was taken as a result of the allegation.

Some information is held by the House of Commons. There have been 673 calls made to the confidential helpline since its launch in May 2012.

A very small number of calls made between November 2016 – October 2017 were identified as relating to concerns about bullying and harassment.  The disclosure of this number of calls (fewer than 5) would allow the personal data of the individuals concerned to be revealed.  This information is therefore exempt by virtue of section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), as disclosure of this information to the public generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with data protection principles in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.

No other information relevant to your request is held about the individual calls.