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Recommendations - Allegations of child sexual abuse linked to Westminster investigation report

These recommendations were made in the Allegations of child sexual abuse linked to Westminster investigation report.

Extension of forfeiture criteria for honours

Recommendation

The criteria for forfeiture of all honours must be formally extended to include convictions, cautions and cases decided by trial of the facts involving offences of child sexual abuse. This must be set out in a published policy and procedure, which must include a clear policy on how forfeiture decisions are made public. The Inquiry expects the Forfeiture Committee to take a lead on this matter.

Re-examination of posthumous forfeiture policy for honours

Recommendation

The Cabinet Office should re-examine the policy on posthumous forfeiture, in order to consider the perspectives of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

Whistleblowing policies and procedure in government departments and political parties covering child sexual abuse and exploitation

Recommendation

Government, political parties and other Westminster institutions must have whistleblowing policies and procedures which cover child sexual abuse and exploitation. Every employee must be aware that they can raise any concerns using these policies and that the policies are not limited to concerns specific to a person’s employment.

Responses

On 26 June 2020, the Liberal Democrats confirmed that it has amended the Party’s safeguarding policy and code of conduct for working with children and vulnerable adults to clarify and expand on the procedure for whistleblowing in relation to child sexual abuse allegations. Training has also been designed to be delivered to Party employees and volunteers to ensure that every employee is aware that they can raise any concerns using these policies and that the policies are not limited to concerns specific to a person’s employment. 

On 10 July 2020, the Co-operative Party outlined the steps that it has taken in response to the Inquiry’s recommendations. The Co-Operative Party stated that it has a clear policy on safeguarding which is included in the Party’s rules and published on the Party’s website. The Party’s policy on safeguarding is also included in the Staff Handbook, together with the policy and process on whistleblowing policy. In addition, the Co-Operative Party stated that elected representatives and lay officers will be reminded of the Party’s safeguarding policy by 31 July 2020.

Child safeguarding policies and procedures of government departments

Recommendation

The Cabinet Office must ensure that each government department reviews its child safeguarding policy or policies in light of the expert witness report of Professor Thoburn. There must also be published procedures to accompany their policies, in order that staff know how to enact their department’s policy. All government departments must update their safeguarding policies and procedures regularly, and obtain expert safeguarding advice when doing this.

Safeguarding policies and procedures for all political parties

Recommendation

All political parties registered with the Electoral Commission in England and Wales must ensure that they have a comprehensive safeguarding policy. 

All political parties must also ensure that they have procedures to accompany their policies, in order that politicians, prospective politicians, staff and volunteers know how to enact their party’s policy, which must be published online. All political parties must update their policies and procedures regularly, and obtain expert safeguarding advice when doing this. 

The Electoral Commission should monitor and oversee compliance with this recommendation.

Responses

On 26 June 2020, the Liberal Democrats stated that the Party’s safeguarding policy and code of conduct for working with children and vulnerable adults has been amended to reflect the practice outlined by Professor June Thoburn during the investigation. This includes adding a new section on safeguarding at Party events, and including a more detailed guidance on appropriate and inappropriate behaviours when working with young people and vulnerable adults. 

On 3 July 2020, the Electoral Commission stated that it fully supports the recommendation that political parties should have high quality safeguarding and child protection procedures. The Commission noted that given the statutory  scope of the Commission’s remit, introducing a requirement that it should monitor and oversee compliance with the Inquiry’s recommendation on the safeguarding policies of political parties would require a change in the law. While it has experience and expertise on financial regulation, it does not have experience and expertise in child protection matters. The Commission considered it would be more appropriate for the recommendation to be directed towards other organisations which have that experience and expertise, and which are therefore much better placed to evaluate the quality of procedures and how they are implemented.

Recommendations process

You can find out about our process for monitoring responses by visiting our web page.

Investigation report

View the Westminster investigation report in its entirety.

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