The Equalities and Human Rights Commission report on Labour antisemitism makes 18 key recommendations. The party will need to create and deliver an action plan to implement these within six weeks, at which point the EHRC must agree with the plan and will monitor its administration. The equalities body has the power to take enforcement action if the legally-binding plan is not executed well enough.
Aimed at targeting the unlawful acts for which Labour was found responsible and preventing their continuation or repetition, the EHRC recommendations range from broader commitments, such as accepting responsibility for past failures, to specific and quantifiable moves, such as publishing quarterly data on antisemitism cases.
The text below is an extract from the report setting out its central recommendations.
Living up to a zero-tolerance commitment
The Labour Party must live up to its commitment to be a political party with zero tolerance of antisemitism. To do this the Labour Party should:
- Continue to build on its new leadership’s statement regarding its failure to deal with antisemitism, and acknowledge its responsibility for not living up to its commitment to zero tolerance of antisemitism.
- Engage with Jewish stakeholders to develop and embed clear, accessible and robust principles and practices to tackle antisemitism and to instil confidence for the future.
- Make sure that it has a system and culture that encourages members to challenge inappropriate behaviour and to report antisemitism complaints.
Rebuilding trust and confidence in antisemitism complaint handling
The Labour Party must rebuild trust and confidence that antisemitism complaints are handled independently, lawfully, efficiently and effectively. To do this the Labour Party should:
- In line with its commitment, and as soon as rule changes allow, commission an independent process to handle and determine antisemitism complaints. This should last until trust and confidence in the process is fully restored and should ensure that independent oversight and auditing are permanently embedded in the new process.
- Acknowledge, through its leadership, the effect that political interference has had on the handling of antisemitism complaints, and implement clear rules and guidance that prohibit and sanction political interference in the complaints process.
- Publish a comprehensive policy and procedure, setting out how antisemitism complaints will be handled and how decisions on them will be made. This should include published criteria on what conduct will be subject to investigation and suspension, and what will be considered an appropriate sanction for different types of proven antisemitic conduct.
- Develop and implement comprehensive internal guidance for all stages of the antisemitism complaints process on:
- decision-making criteria
- robust record-keeping, including recording reasons for decisions
- timescales, and
- communication, including regular communication with complainants and clear rules regulating the use of informal methods of communication in the complaints process.
- Review and update the ‘Code of Conduct: Social Media Policy’ to make it clear that members may be investigated and subject to disciplinary action if they share or like any antisemitic social media content.
- Make sure that NCC panels are routinely assisted by an external lawyer in the same way that NEC antisemitism panels are.
- Take steps to increase transparency in the disciplinary process, as highlighted by the HASC report, by reporting regularly on the reasons for the final outcome decisions in antisemitism complaints, taking account of legal requirements to publish anonymised information where appropriate.
- In line with the recommendation of the Royall report, make sure the complaint handling process is resourced properly so that it can deal with antisemitism complaints effectively and without delay.
Education and training
The Labour Party should take the following steps relating to education and training:
- Commission and provide education and practical training for all individuals involved in the antisemitism complaints process. This should be implemented fully within six months of publication of this report and, from that date, should be mandatory before any individual is allowed to be involved in any stage of the antisemitism complaints process.
- Make sure that all members found to have engaged in antisemitic conduct (apart from those who are expelled) undertake an educational course on identifying and tackling antisemitism, regardless of the level of sanction applied.
- Roll out a programme of education and training on identifying and tackling antisemitism, for all staff, party officials, and other members in positions of responsibility within the party. We note the leader of the Labour Party’s statement about his ambition to roll out training to all party staff as soon as possible.
- Develop all education and training programmes on antisemitism in consultation with Jewish stakeholders.
Monitor and evaluate improvements to the process to ensure lasting change
To evaluate the effectiveness of improvements to the antisemitism complaints process, the Labour Party should:
- Collect, analyse, and publish quarterly data that enables a comparison between the handling of antisemitism complaints and other types of complaint. This should include the number of complaints, the outcome, what body made the decision (the Governance and Legal Unit, the NEC or the NCC), the sanctions applied, the time taken for completion, and how many complaints remain outstanding.
- Audit its complaint handling processes on a regular basis, including response time and consistency of outcomes, including sanctions, and make changes to address any issues identified.
- Measure staff and stakeholder confidence in the complaint handling process and respond appropriately to the feedback.
- Put in place long-term arrangements for independent oversight of the complaint handling process, to make sure that standards are monitored and enforced and adequate resources are in place.