We’ll ensure that relevant national documents are also available here for use by local members.
Safeguarding Young People
Young people may now join the Labour Party from the age of 14 and we all have experience of even younger children volunteering to deliver leaflets or stuff envelopes.
The welcome increase in membership generally has been accompanied by an increase in young members. Over 10,000 members are under 18 years of age and they are legally ‘children’ for the purpose of safeguarding and child protection legislation. This compares with around a million Scouts and Guides but is still a significant increase and is a new challenge for many local branches and parties in particular.
At the same time there is heightened awareness of the need to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for children and young people. This has been brought into focus by recent and continuing enquiries into child sexual exploitation, the Jay Enquiry into historical abuse, and the tragedies we have seen in other political circumstances. Alongside this we are all too aware of the increased levels of intimidation and bullying which are particularly prevalent on social media.
The Labour Party seeks to govern in national parliaments and assemblies and in local government. The high numbers of elected representatives means we have an even greater responsibility to provide effective leadership in creating a safe and welcoming environment for all within a political party.
The National Executive Committee has therefore adopted a policy statement and a code of conduct as the first steps toward a comprehensive set of procedures to ensure that children in the Labour Party are protected.
The policy statement is intended to provide staff, members and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to safeguarding. No child or young person should ever experience abuse of any kind. The policy sets out that we have a responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children and young people and outlines how this commitment will be made a reality in practice. We are committing to both the prevention of harm as well as to recognising and responding to concerns about actual harm or risk of harm to children and young people. We will also need clear systems in place for recording any protective action we take.
Safeguarding Code of Conduct
The Labour Party has specific codes of conduct covering many circumstances, primarily in respect of the conduct of internal selections. The new Safeguarding Code of Conduct lies at the heart of our child safeguarding strategy and is shaped in part by the direction given by the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in recent months. Together with the Policy it provides the structure upon which specific, detailed procedures and other guidance may be developed.
Members’ Pledge and Social Media Code
In addition to the specific safeguarding policy and code outlined above, the Party has also adopted a member’s pledge and a code of behaviour when using social media.
All these documents should help ensure the Labour Party is a safe and welcoming place for all our members and supporters, where the contribution of all is valued and the abuse of anyone is unacceptable.