Independent Survey on Harassment and Bullying

Jovica Trajkovski [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

We have heard from the cross-party Working Group currently looking into harassment and bullying in Parliament. The survey they will be conducting is an important way to gather information in confidence about the current situation, and we encourage you to complete it when it is posted.

w4mp team.

In light of the stories of harassment and bullying in parliament, the Prime Minister has convened a cross-party Working Group on an Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy. The group are currently working on a proposal to make Parliament a safe and fair place to work, and the policy will be available to those that work in, or with, Parliament.

As members of the Working Group, we will be asking you to complete a short survey. This will give us a preliminary view of your experiences relating to bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment.

We will only ask for limited demographic information, but we want to hear directly from you so that we can act quickly in implementing a solution. The survey will help us to better understand the current situation, identify the things that the independent policy needs to tackle and hear how people think this might work best. The survey is being sent to a wide range of people who work in and with Parliament, not just those employed by the two Houses or working for Members or Peers.

We have commissioned BMG to conduct the survey for us, who are an independent organisation with survey expertise.  We will circulate the details of the survey link in the next few days, and ask you to complete it online as soon as possible.  We will also distribute information about the survey link in hard copy for people who do not use a computer regularly in the course of their work.

Please note that the deadline for completing the survey is Sunday 3rd December. The initial findings will inform the proposal that the Working Group will be putting together in December.

We would like to make it clear that the survey is anonymous and that BMG only report responses above a certain number. This ensures all information remains completely confidential. BMG Research is a member of the Market Research Society, which is bound by its Code of Conduct not to provide personal details without formal permission of the individual.

The Working Group would like to encourage you to complete the survey – we are aware of a number of surveys that you may also have been asked to complete, but the only survey conducted by the Working Group is the one you will receive from BMG.

It is vital that the Working Group is able to hear from those affected by these important issues, those who work on the estate, and those who care about this issue – we want to make sure we get this right.

Electrical Tests in Palace of Westminster

Electrical testing will take place in the Palace of Westminster  Sunday 26 November, Sunday 3 and Sunday 10 December, beginning at 8am and ending at 5pm on each day. There will be multiple short power outages during each day. All electrical services will be affected during these outages.

If you work in the Palace you should shut down any PCs and work on laptops where possible.

 Support services will be on site for the duration of the tests and announcements will be made before each one.

Staff training course updates

We have published course dates for staff training on the Training page.

Training offered by Learning and Development is free for Members’ staff to attend, the only cost from your end would be travel and accommodation. However these costs can be claimed back through IPSA.

Courses offered have been designed to develop and build skills in a range of core areas for Members’ staff.

“Should we be free to hate?” – ECPMF’s young writer competition

“Should we be free to hate?” – ECPMF’s young writer competition ‘1000 words for freedom’

Darth Vader is a hater. For sure. Hate is where his strength and power comes from. His symbol is the death star.

Okay, it‘s fiction. Classic science fiction, actually.

In our world, the real world, most of the haters can be found in social media. There they hide behind a mask of anonymity. However more and more often they reveal themselves. Because they feel safe, because they think they have the right to say what they want to say.

Hate speech can be disturbing, embarrassing, frightening, destructive. So shouldn’t we just try to elimate it? By law? Or would that mean to eliminate also the freedom of expression? Isn’t it okay to express all our feelings? Should we be free to hate?

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom is proud to announce this year’s competition for young writers.  We ask you, young people under the age of 27, to write up to 1,000 words on the question: Should we be free to hate?

The contest is open for entries from 5th October 2017 to 31st December 2017.

For further information, please go to:

https://ecpmf.eu/news/awards/1000-words-ii-should-we-be-free-to-hate

Department of Health Guide for Constituency Staff – updated

The Department of Health has updated its helpful guide for constituency staff, which has been sent out by email to Members of Parliament.

The Ministerial correspondence – Guide for constituency staff is designed to help constituency office staff find their way around the health and social care system, and identify which organisation is best placed to help them with their constituency enquiries and casework. The guide explains the roles of the NHS trusts and arms-length bodies (ALBs) in the health and care sector, and includes contact details for the chief executives of all the Department’s ALBs.

If you have not already received a copy of this guide and would like one, please email us on editor@w4mp.org and we will email you a copy.  Please note that this will only be sent out to those with verified Parliamentary email addresses.  It is not available to the public.

Health Assured Newsletter for November

Every month Health Assured, who are the Parliamentary Health Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provider,  send out a newsletter to staff.

This month’s is now online. In it you’ll find features about Movember -, a report on this year’s National Stress Awareness day, and an article about Armistice Day and its significance.

Read the November Newsletter (PDF)

Disability and mental health awareness and information for MPs and their staff

The Commons Diversity and Inclusion team has a very useful resource for MPs and their staff on dealing with disability and mental health issues encountered when conducting their work either at Parliament or in their constituencies.

In conjunction with RADAR, they have published a comprehensive guide, which can be found on the intranet here: https://intranet.parliament.uk/employment/house-of-commons/equality-diversity-respect/disability/understanding-disabilities-information-for-mps-and-staff/

It contains information on:

  • Access
  • Meetings, events and surgeries
  • Information and Communication
  • Communication Aids
  • Meeting disabled constituents
  • Common courtesies
  • Language
  • Disability Discrimination Law
  • Who is affected by the law?
  • How the law affects MPs
  • The Equality Duty
  • Useful contacts

There is also an MP and Staffers’ Guide to Mental Health which provides practical tips and advice on how Members and their staff can support constituents with mental health problems, and where to signpost them. Members and their staff often come into contact with constituents in distress either at surgeries or through emails and telephone calls, and this Guide provides information and guidance on how to deal with these difficult situations:

  • Quick-reference guide
  • An overview of mental health
  • How much help should you give?
  • How to help someone in distress
  • Handling difficult emails and phone calls
  • Signposting and local information

https://intranet.parliament.uk/Documents/Diversity/ParliAble/MP-and-Staffers-guide-to-mental-health-(2).pdf