Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:37 pm on 17th July 2019.

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Photo of Valerie Vaz Valerie Vaz Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 5:37 pm, 17th July 2019

I thank the Leader of the House for tabling this motion, and all those involved with producing the House of Commons Commission report, “Extending the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme”, which was published on 15 July.

In May 2019, the Commission unanimously agreed to consult on its approved proposal for dealing with non-recent cases by using the existing ICGS and employing specialist investigators for both assessing and investigating non-recent and recent cases. The consultation was launched on 21 May and closed on 14 June. The responses to the Commission’s public consultation were overwhelmingly supportive of its preferred option. Respondents included current and former staff of MPs and the House service, the Centre for Women’s Justice, the trade union side, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Committee on Standards in Public Life. Accordingly, at its meeting on 24 June 2019, the Commission agreed to include non-recent cases in the ICGS—hence, this motion. Until now, the ICGS has been available to all those who make up the parliamentary community. Paragraph 8 of the Commission’s report sets out necessary changes to open the ICGS to non-recent cases and to former members of the parliamentary community.

I pay tribute to the staff who are currently working on Dame Laura Cox’s third recommendation; we know how hard they work. Every time Members say that things have to be done quickly, there are a lot of hard-working staff who have to carry out that work as soon as possible. The staff team are currently working on ways to implement a fully independent complaints system, and will be helped by a working group of experts in constitutional law, constitutional history, human resources and procedure, as well as consulting Chairs of various Select Committees and party representatives. Mrs Miller is one of those consultees. A statement has been published today, and I urge everyone to read it on the intranet and respond to it. She made a point about the Commission, but everything is open. The decisions are published on the intranet, and questions to the Commission can be answered in the Chamber by Tom Brake or tabled.

I have a simple question for the Leader of the House: can he tell us the timetable for the report following the consultation and the completion of that work? He might know that, or he might want to ask his officials. In the circumstances, Her Majesty’s Opposition support the motion.