The disciplinary process and the rule book has always been perfectly well administered in the past. That was before the Election Procedures Committee thought, in their arrogance, that they could adapt the disciplinary procedure and the rule book to suit themselves.
As a result all and any semblance of fairness, justice, due process and natural justice was thrown out the window. The resulting `purge` of thousands and thousands of members on spurious grounds is sickening. It disgusts me on all levels: for the individuals subjected to the abuse by the procedures committee, the lack of responsibility of the NEC (who allowed this in the first place by handing over the reins of the disputes panel to the procedures committee) who, in my opinion, demonstrated a dereliction of duty, and continue to do so, by not highlighting how the disciplinary process put in place by the procedures committee breaks all the rules of the rule book and simply has, and continues to have no regard for common decency.
Up until this fiasco the disputes panel looked at any possible disciplinary infringements and spoke with the member, decided whether there was any evidence to support the need for an investigation, and then arranged for an investigation to clarify the issues. Only if there was a real threat of abuse, and or a real threat to the reputation of the Party, did the disputes panel suspend a member during the investigation stage.
The Procedures Committee, however, thought in their arrogance they will just suspend all and everybody that anyone reported or that the bot they used threw up as ABUSE such as blairite or rat. The pathetic check that the bot was not being unreasonable resulted in the panels confirming the suspension because it was a real abusive threat to an individual or the Party`s reputation.
WOW. The result was, and the abuse by the Party to individuals continues on unchecked, is that members were suspended and their votes taken away from them, and their right to attend conference taken away from them, when, if it had followed the established manner of the disciplinary process simply would not have happened.
Suspending members in this way is unprecedented and is not what the Disputes Panel would have done, and neither therefore, would the Disputes Panel have deprived people of their votes and lost them hundreds of pounds in hotel and booking fees for conference.
THEN having dug this hole the procedures committee went on to lift the suspensions and merely issue a warning letter.NO. this is not the process that should be used. The disputes panel instigate an investigation, and only if there is any evidence that they consider warrants a punishment do they act – and what they do is PASS IT TO THE NCC to make a decision on.
SHAME on the procedures committee for behaving in such an abusive manner. The procedures members: PROCEDURE COMMITTEE: There shall be a Procedures Committee to oversee the election process. The Procedures Committee will comprise of: • General Secretary (Returning Officer) • NEC Officers (Ann Black, Keith Birch, Diana Holland, Jim Kennedy, Paddy Lillis, Ellie Reeves, Mary Turner, Tom Watson) • Margaret Beckett MP • Glenis Willmott MEP
Now the sickening fallout is manifesting, still they care more about covering their butts than addressing the abuse they have visited on members treated in this manner. The NEC are now looking to fudge it, sweep it all under the carpet by saying
it wont happen again`. BUT the point is it did happen, and unless the rules on the rights of the NEC to hand over the duties of the NCC to some any committee of their choosing is stopped then it will happen again. If not on the disciplinary process (and there is nothing to stop it happening it seems) then it will be on something else. First they came for …
This is the correct process, and the one that the disputes panel follows, but that the NEC allowed the procedures committee to throw out the window:
1. The alleged instances of that are investigated. All and any alleged evidence is compiled and sent to the member asap.
2. At the investigative stage of the process, it is not our practice to disclose the identities of anyone who has brought complaints to our attention. If the NEC Disputes Panel finds that further action is to be taken, the case would be referred to the National Constitutional Committee (NCC), a quasi-judiciary body. At this point, all such information is made available to respondents.
3. Informal interviews take part during the investigative stage of the disciplinary process. These are an opportunity for the member in question to respond to and rebut allegations that they have contravened Labour Party rules (example: 2.I.8 of the Party Rule Book: “No member of the Party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NEC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the Party”).
The format for the interview is laid out for Party Staff by the NEC.
The “outcome”, as it were, of the interview, is that the investigating officer presents a report on the content and findings of the interview to the NEC Disputes Panel, along with a summary of the evidence brought against that member.
The Disputes Panel then comes to a decision on whether action is to be taken. If no action is to be taken, the member is informed and there is no change to their membership status whatsoever. If, however, the Disputes Panel decides that further action is to be taken, they refer the case to the NCC, who conduct a full hearing with all relevant parties and reach a decision, with a range of sanctions available to them.
If no action is to be taken, the member is informed and there is no change to their membership status whatsoever. If, however, the Disputes Panel decides that further action is to be taken, they refer the case to the NCC, who conduct a full hearing with all relevant parties and reach a decision, with a range of sanctions available to them.
If, however, the Disputes Panel decides that further action is to be taken, they refer the case to the NCC, who conduct a full hearing with all relevant parties and reach a decision, with a range of sanctions available to them.
BUT IN 2016 THE NEC HANDED OVER THE WHOLE PROCESS TO THE PROCEDURES COMMITTEE WHO SIMPLY THREW THIS OUT OF THE WINDOW.
The Procedures Committee not only showed no respect for the rule book, they showed no respect for the established process (and how the disputes panel interpreted the rule book re discipline as per conference), but surprise surprise, showed no respect for the tried and tested manner that unions hold employers too:
`Your employer should give you a clear reason for the suspension and explain what other options have been explored instead of suspension. If you are suspended because of allegations against you, you are entitled to know what the allegations are.
Length of suspension: Your employer needs to do what they can to resolve the issue swiftly and keep the suspension to a minimum. Your employer should keep the suspension decision under review.`
The Procedures committee immediately suspended members, took away their vote, did not consider other avenues, did not check context. Timely manner? Hahahaha MONTHS AND MONTHS AND MONTHS and many still suspended. Under review – nope FAIL months and months of members trying to gain the alleged evidenced, palmed off, ignored on and on and on.
It is the Procedures committee that needs investigating, and its powers curtailed so that such an appalling abuse of thousands of members by the Party cannot happen again.