House of Commons in need of radical reform to protect staff from bullying and harassment, says FDA

Friday 9th March, 2018

In response to BBC Newsnight’s report on bullying and harassment in the House of Commons, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said:

“The FDA has previously called for radical reform in the House of Commons to protect staff and change the culture of bullying and harassment. Newsnight’s report illustrates just how pervasive this behaviour is.

“While we were pivotal in reforming the Respect policy, it is clear this still does not go far enough and a truly independent system must be introduced. 

“This is an issue that crosses party political lines and politicians on all sides of the House cannot be relied upon the mark their own homework when it comes to the standards we rightly expect them to uphold in a modern workplace.

“It is unacceptable that talented and skilled House of Commons staff would rather leave their job because they have no trust that bullying and harassment will be dealt with fairly.

“Staff deserve to be respected at work and must feel confident to come forward and report bullying and harassment. That requires independent oversight that is free from political interference with real power to sanction MPs.

“Self-regulation has failed and the opportunity must not be lost to bring in a system that carries the confidence of the staff it is there to protect.

“The FDA will continue to work hard to make sure the voices of House of Commons staff are heard in the development of a truly independent system and that the culture of the House of Commons is changed for the better.”

Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the union for senior managers and professionals in public service, representing more than 18,000 members at grades HEO and above. Membership includes senior civil servants, Government policy advisors, prosecutors, diplomats, tax professionals, economists, solicitors and other professionals working across the Government and the NHS.

2. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

3. FDA General Secretary Dave Penman has previously written for The Guardian and Huffington Post about bullying and harassment in Westminster. 

4. The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union and at www.fda.org.uk. General Secretary Dave Penman tweets as @FDAGenSec.

5. For further information contact the FDA Communications team on 020 7401 5589.