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Sanctions recommended for refusal to undertake Valuing Everyone training

8 July 2021

The House of Lords Conduct Committee has today recommended that three members have their access to services of the House restricted to minimise their contact with staff following their refusal to take part in Valuing Everyone training.

Valuing Everyone training is designed to help ensure everyone working in Parliament is able to recognise bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct and feel confident taking action to tackle and prevent it. It is mandatory for both members and staff of the House of Lords.

The three members who have refused to take part in the training are:

  • Lord James of Blackheath
  • Lord Kalms
  • Lord Willoughby de Broke

The Committee upheld the recommendations of the Commissioner for Standards that those members be banned from the use of dining facilities in the House of Lords, the Library including research services, and bookable meetings rooms.

Further, the Committee recommends that the members’ access to business and procedural services of the House of Lords should be limited to email contact only. The Committee says these limitations strike the right balance between reducing these members’ interactions with others in the parliamentary community until they have completed the training, and protecting their ability to undertake parliamentary duties.

The Committee also considered the case of Baroness Mone who also breached the Code of Conduct by failing to undertake the training by the required deadline of 1 April. However, as Baroness Mone has now done the training the Committee agreed with the Commissioner for Standards that no sanctions are required in her case.

The report and sanctions must be approved by the House before coming into force. The report will be debated before the Houses rises for the summer recess.

The report goes on to challenge some misrepresentations of the nature of Valuing Everyone training including:

  • That it is irrelevant to the House of Lords – the training is informed by real examples of inappropriate behaviour by members that had previously typically gone unchallenged.
  • That it would be unnecessary if an appropriate complaint process were in place – a robust complaints process is already in place and 18 complaints against members have been investigated and reported on, however Valuing Everyone is designed to ensure everyone recognises and challenges inappropriate behaviour to reduce the likelihood of it happening in the first place.
  • That members who have attended the scheme have provided negative feedback – in fact 95% of members who have taken part in the course said they would recommend it to others and 92% rated their confidence to call out inappropriate behaviour having taken the training as ‘very good’ or ‘good’.
  • Any suggestion that the course has cost the House of Lords in the region of £750,000 is incorrect. This figure is the amount paid by Parliament as a whole for training across the parliamentary community, including members and staff of both Houses. The actual cost to develop the course and provide it to more than 760 members of the House of Lords is around £100,000.