Bullying and Harassment of MPS’ Parliamentary Staff

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 17th July 2019.

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Photo of Valerie Vaz Valerie Vaz Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 3:30 pm, 17th July 2019

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his contribution. There is a lot to be learned from different organisations, including the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Government, the BBC and the Bank of England. There are a number of public service bodies that may have gone through this process, and we can look at this again.

The White report talks about an HR department, and I want to dwell on this slightly. She talks about a regulatory role in terms of documentation and of support. I believe that as the department is being set up, we need to look at separating those two functions, possibly within the same Department. It is a matter for the Commission to direct the House authorities to get the HR director in place first, and the HR director would then get his or her own staff, but it would be useful to ensure that there was no crossover between those two functions.

I know that hon. Members will have read the report and seen the helpful diagram on the last page, page 55, in which Gemma White talks about “Who”, “What” and “By when”. This gives us a useful timetable. The Commission has already issued a statement and indicated that it will set in train her recommendations. It has already started the consultation on those recommendations, but will the Leader of the House set out a timetable for the consultation and possible implementation of the proposed changes? As he said, we have lots of reports, and I hope that all the threads of those reports will be pulled together. I know, because I have had contact with them, that we have a dedicated and hard-working team currently working on the ICGS, and I have every confidence that Parliament will be an exemplary environment that is both inclusive and supportive.

Could I ask the Leader of the House how we will measure this cultural change, and what steps for immediate action the Government will take to promote these new policies? As many hon. and right hon. Members know, we have dedicated staff who are committed to democracy and public service, and I know that the House staff and our own staff do, and will, serve us well as we serve the public with the highest commitment to democracy in this extremely interesting and challenging time.