[2022] Motion 28 Protecting public servants from bullying and harassment

carried motion
Carried motion

Received from:

Congress recognises that every employee deserves to be able to work in an environment without fear of bullying and harassment.

While most public services have tried and tested procedures for dealing with bullying and harassment from fellow employees, the system for public servants who interact with ministers and politicians has consistently been found to be unfit for purpose.

Investigations under the ministerial code have to be sanctioned by the prime minister, who is also the sole arbiter of the outcome. Investigations are not transparent, with no published process and no right of challenge. As we have seen time and again, even with accusations of serious sexual harassment, prime ministers have prioritised their own political interests over the welfare of civil servants.

In parliament, where hard-won progress has been made with an independent complaints and grievance scheme introduced through union intervention, there is still concern about the inability of parliamentary authorities to take pre-emptive action to protect employees where there are serious, substantiated allegations against MPs.

Congress believes that parliamentarians and ministers should be subject to the same standards of conduct and oversight that apply to workers up and down the country. Congress therefore calls upon the General Council to:

i. lobby the new prime minister to implement, in full, the committee on standards in public life recommendations on the ministerial code

ii. support unions in their campaign to ensure that all parliamentary staff are protected in circumstances where serious, substantiated allegations are made against a parliamentarian.