Tag Archives: macdonald review

Proposed new party disciplinary procedures

I love working with a party that is so committed to giving everyone in society a voice. At the moment, though, our disciplinary process doesn’t live up to those values. Far too often it lets down those making complaints, those complained about – and the whole party. That’s why I’m moving business motion F11: Reforming our Party’s Disciplinary Processes at federal conference in September, a motion I hope you will support.

This reform has been a long time coming: for many years now, experts (yes, we Lib Dems still think there is value in experts!) have been looking at our systems …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Publication of Report on Sexual Impropriety Complaints Handling – an update from Special Investigation Counsel, Isabelle Parasram

In November 2017, I was appointed by the Federal Board of the Liberal Democrats as Special Investigation Counsel to conduct an investigation and produce a Report on the handling of sexual impropriety complaints within the Party.

I am pleased that, after a period of being embargoed, the report has now been published and you can access it here.

My appointment was one of a number of steps taken by the Federal Board in response to concerns expressed by members of the party towards the end of last year. These concerns related to allegations of sexual impropriety that were, at that time, …

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Macdonald Report goes back for a rethink – a member of the English Appeals Panel reflects

The news that the Macdonald Report, and its allied recommendations, had been narrowly referred back came as something of a surprise, as least to this observer. The ground is normally pretty well prepared for changes like this, and whilst the debate about the Party’s internal disciplinary procedures has been going on for some time now, there appeared to be agreement that something needed to be done. And whilst that possibility isn’t ruled out – yet – there must be some doubt as to whether the proposals will, even if amended, be accepted by a Federal Conference at some future date.

Having …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Conference tells Federal Board to think again on new disciplinary processes

There was shock late yesterday afternoon when Conference referred back the new disciplinary proposals brought forward by the Federal Board as a result of the Macdonald Review.

The new process had been developed by Ken Macdonald, a former Director of Public Prosecutions and was designed to be independent of the state parties. The current system is clearly not fit for purpose, at least at English Party level. Complainants tell of long delays- one woman described a 13 month to have her complaints sexual harassment dealt with – and unsatisfactory results.

Conference decided by just two votes to refer the matter back to the Federal Board after speakers expressed concerns about the proposals. While the English Party Chair, Liz Leffman, was fully behind the new system, other senior members of the English Party spoke against the proposals citing practical difficulties and opposition to measures designed to give limited powers to key figures in the Party. They objected to a measure that would give the Party President a right to appeal against any decision on behalf of the Party – a vital safeguard, I would have thought, if a decision was made that clearly went against the weight of the evidence. Another move, to give the Federal Chief Executive emergency power to suspend a member for a very short period of time. Best practice in voluntary organisations and workplaces gives an immediate power of suspension in cases of gross misconduct. Under the new system, the ordinary process of suspending someone could take up to 14 days. If you have someone convicted of some sort of offence involving harassment or assault on the eve of a Conference, that presents immediate safeguarding issues and quicker action may be needed.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 13 Comments

Conference to debate new disciplinary process – how you can find out more

This weekend, Conference will get a vote for my proposals of a new disciplinary process for the Party. This is the culmination of a series of consultation phases, and has been designed with members’ feedback at the forefront of our minds.

You can read my report here, and paper copies will be available at Conference. I will also be holding a Q&A session during the Saturday lunchtime fringe slot in the Marine Suite at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Southport. If you are attending Conference you are very welcome to attend and ask me any questions you may have, ahead of the debate which will take place that afternoon from 5pm.

I have been clear from the beginning: the only way members will be well-served by a disciplinary process is if it is simple, transparent and efficient. It needs to be a stand-alone process, and it needs to deal with complaints promptly with clear lines of communication. It also needs robust guidance on how to care for all those who may find themselves trying to navigate the process, be they complainants, witnesses, those complained against, or those sitting on the panels.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments
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