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National Party releases health and safety review

28 May 2019

The National Party is today releasing a summary of recommendations made by our health and safety review led by accredited consultancy firm Progressive Safety Limited, President Peter Goodfellow says.

“Our consultant, who has 15 years-experience in the field of Health and Safety, was tasked with ensuring our current Party policies continued to reflect best practice and provide advice on any improvements that could be made.

“The terms of reference for the review, set by our Board of Directors, specifically focused on: ensuring continued best practice for those persons who wished to bring forward complaints; ensuring there were robust communication channels between the Parliamentary and volunteer wings of our organisation when issues did arise; and establishing a code of conduct that sets behavioural expectations for members.

“At our core we are a club of 25,000-plus volunteers who passionately care about the future of New Zealand, but we must all be vigilant that that passion does not inadvertently descend into any form of bullying or harassment. We have a duty of care to our members, and their continued trust and confidence in our policies and processes is paramount.

“While our review confirms we have a comprehensive Health and Safety Policy in place, there are a few small helpful changes we can make to ensure alignment with best practice, and our Board of Directors have accepted all of the recommendations made,” said President Peter Goodfellow.

Recommendations include:

• Updating our Health and Safety induction booklet, to include a specific section defining what constitutes bullying and harassment, in line with best practice.
• Updating our Health and Safety induction booklet to clearly advise members of our process for dealing with any complaints and continue to ensure a victim-led approach is always followed.
• Updating existing communications channels to ensure pro-active weekly discussion between the senior Parliamentary and volunteer wings of the National Party to raise and address any relevant issues, complaints or incidents where necessary.
• Introducing a Code of Conduct Policy that sets the behavioural expectations of members of the Party and stipulates our standards; complaints procedure of alleged breaches; responses to complaints; investigation processes; appeals; and disciplinary actions available. (Our Board of Directors wish to see the final Parliamentary Code of Conduct, and while acknowledging that we are different organisations, with different structures, it is important they are as consistent as possible.)
• Greater accessibility and visibility of our Health and Safety policies and procedures to members.
• Consideration of inclusion of the Code of Conduct Policy into the Party Constitution and Rules.
• Formalisation of a sub-committee of the National Party Board of Directors tasked with overseeing Health & Safety. This group will include the President, Party Secretary, a delegated Board member with relevant experience, Young Nationals President, and the Chief Whip.
• Ensure ongoing reviews of National Party Health and Safety Policies are conducted on an annual basis.

“We regularly discuss health and safety at a Board of Directors level, at regional and annual conferences, events, and at local regional and electorate meetings. But we must ensure that local message continues to be reinforced to members.

“Ensuring good health and safety in our wider Party social environment is everyone’s responsibility, and leadership starts at the top. We have taken the opportunity of our recent Regional Conferences to update members and seek ongoing feedback about our approach.

“We can and will do better in making sure our Health and Safety policies and procedures are more visible and accessible to members, more frequently discussed, and that our senior and local volunteer leadership help take ownership of that approach.

“We are committed to making sure every member feels safe, supported, and is encouraged to bring forward complaints when necessary, and that those complaints will be dealt with appropriately. Our changes announced today will ensure that continues to happen now, and into the future,” Mr Goodfellow says.

Attachment: Explanatory Notes on recommendations
Code of Conduct: Link to Code of Conduct can be found here


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