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Report on Harmful Behaviour in Parliamentary Workplace

Office of the Speaker of the NZ House of Representatives
Rt Hon Trevor Mallard
21 May 2019 11.30am

Report on Harmful Behaviour in Parliamentary Workplace Released


Rt Hon Trevor Mallard today released a report containing the findings and recommendations of the independent external review into harmful behaviour within the parliamentary workplace.

The Review, carried out by independent external reviewer, Debbie Francis, took five months and makes 85 recommendations. A full copy of the report is now available on the Parliament website at this link.

The Speaker said today “This review was commissioned to establish if the parliamentary workplace is a place where harmful behaviour occurs, and in some cases is supported by the system. The report confirms this harmful behaviour occurs, and recommends changes that can be made to ensure the system does not enable or support this behaviour.”

“Together with the agencies and all political parties, I am committed to making changes to ensure the parliamentary workplace is free from harmful behaviour. We will now consider the report’s recommendations. The issues in the report will not be a quick fix and any solutions will need to have input from those affected and address the systemic issues.”

“I thank all of you who shared your experiences and suggestions, without your honesty this Review would not have been possible. Your contributions will help us make meaningful systemic change.”

About the Review:

The Review launched in late November, 2018. Its objectives, as laid out in the Terms of Reference were:

• To establish the nature and extent of bullying and harassment (including sexual harassment and any systemic behaviours) of staff employed or engaged by PS, MaSS and OoC from the 51st Parliament (since October 2014);

• Identify any themes and patterns regarding how previous reports of incidents and complaints about such behaviour were handled and those reporting incidents or raising complaints were treated and any barriers to reporting or making complaints;

• Assess existing policies and procedures in this area against best practice, with a view to making any recommendations for improvement;

• Consider and comment upon the New Zealand Parliament as a place of work ;

• To establish whether the Parliamentary organisations have appropriate control measures in place to deal with any risks arising from bullying and harassment, in accordance with the guidance issued to date by WorkSafe NZ;

• Establish whether the control measures in place are effectively managing the risks from bullying and harassment with a view to making recommendations as to how, if at all, such control measures can be improved; and

• Any other matters the Reviewer needs to consider as part of this Review.

It was not an objective of this Review to reopen past complaints, or to investigate new complaints against specific individuals.

The Review provided current and former staff with the opportunity to share their relevant perspectives by outlining in person or in writing their experiences of perceived bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment.

The Reviewer used a mix of interviews (including Chiefs of Staff, Chief Whips and members (randomly selected), focus groups (each group comprising individuals from the same political party, not a combination from different political parties) and survey techniques.

As an independent Reviewer, Ms Francis had full ownership over how the Review was run, and all aspects of the Review were independent from Parliament and the agencies involved.

About the Reviewer:

Debbie Francis, who led the Review, is a former Chief People Office for the New Zealand Defence Force, former Lead Partner for PwC’s People and Change consulting practice, and Head of PwC’s Central Government practice. She has delivered and advised clients on numerous complex and large-scale change and transformation projects in the private and public sectors. She had also undertaken many Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) reviews of public agencies for the State Services Commission. These included PIFs for the Ministry of Defence, MFAT, MBIE, the Serious Fraud Office, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Primary Industries, and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise. Her previous leadership roles include Chief Executive for the New Zealand Correspondence School, Deputy Chief Executive for UCOL, lead for the first national Tertiary Education Strategy, and Director of Strategy and Futures at Lincoln University.


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