Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Lord Rennard

Today's events in Lord Rennard's case are interesting for a number of reasons: he has not been fulsomely cleared, but neither has he been found guilty. The report says that the evidence against the peer was 'broadly credible' and that the allegations were not politically motivated, and yet there was little chance that harassment charges could be proved.

For this reason, he is in limbo. It's a mess.

The report also calls on him to apologise: so far his reaction has been a statement saying he wants his old job back.

That's enough about all of that: what I'd like to mention are the most important lessons from this affair.

  1. Every organisation, however large or small, must have clear, well-defined and well-publicised procedures to deal with claims of bullying or abuse by staff members, both within and without the organisation.
  2. These procedures should be the same for all members of an organisation, from the CEO to a janitor, and be visible to all members.
  3. There should be methods of reporting abuse that are outside the normal reporting line; often bullying or abuse occurs between manager and staff member.
  4. All claims should be documented, and treated in the same manner, whether the accused is low down in the organisation, or high up.
  5. Whenever a claim is received, existing documentation should be searched to check if the accused has had previous accusations; this could show patterns of behaviour that might need to be addressed.
Let's hope the Liberal Democrats - and indeed all the parties - have now got robust procedures in place for such occurrences. 

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