Marking a year since Dame Laura Cox published her report into the bullying and harassment of House of Commons staff, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman has called for all candidates vying for the role of Speaker to “confront the vested interests that created the problem in the first place".
Writing for HuffPost UK, Penman welcomed the pledges from the current hopefuls to replace John Bercow as “more than a ray of hope”, but condemned the lack of action over the past 12 months.
Despite the House of Commons Commission agreeing to all of Dame Laura’s recommendations, we are yet to see a fully independent complaints process implemented.
Penman writes: "A small staff group has now been set up to look at options for an independent process. This may well be a significant step in the right direction, but we have no way of knowing at this stage. At the IfG hustings event Dame Eleanor Laing MP, current Deputy Speaker no less, said she had tried to enquire how this work was being undertaken – who was responsible and when it would report – but was simply unable to get clear answers. If it is to carry the confidence of staff and Parliamentarians across the House, this work must be conducted with full transparency and engagement with the trade unions who represent House staff.
"That we are here 12 months after Dame Laura reported is a scandal. The commitments from the candidates for Speaker to quickly deliver an independent process is welcome, but this is not the end of it. We are still waiting on a broader range of sanctions to be introduced, more in fitting with a modern employment context."
The full blog can be read here.