Procedural guidelines for disciplinary cases involving sexual harassment to be determined by the NCC supplemental to the Labour Party Rule Book appendix 6.
1. The procedures detailed below are supplementary to appendix 6 of the Labour Party Rule Book and apply where the NEC Sexual Harassment Panel decides that there is a prima facie case to be answered by a respondent to a complaint of sexual harassment that should be determined by the NCC, and a complainant wishes to adopt the sexual harassment specific procedure.
2. After a decision as stated in 1 above is reached charges will be presented on behalf of NEC to the NCC. The NCC secretary will be sent a written charge sheet with a paginated bundle of statements of the complainant, respondent and any witnesses to the matters complained of and any documentary evidence to be relied upon by each party.
3. A panel of at least three of its members shall be appointed by the NCC to deal with the case.
4. The NCC will write to each individual respondent to the charges enclosing the charge sheet and bundle and asking each respondent to confirm to the NCC secretary, within two weeks of the date of posting of the letter enclosing the charge and bundle, whether they contest the charges or not.
5. If a respondent does not confirm that they contest the charges they will be written to and advised that failure to respond without reasonable cause shall be deemed an admission entitling the NCC to proceed with the case and to impose any appropriate sanction.
6. If a respondent confirms that they intend to contest the charges:
i. Each respondent must send to the secretary of the NCC, within four weeks of the date of posting of the letter enclosing the charge and bundle, a written answer to the charge identifying any part of the charge that may be admitted, any part that is contested and the basis upon which it is contested;
ii. Upon receiving the respondent’s answer to the charge the NCC will send a copy of it to the NEC’s presenter;
iii. Upon receiving a notice of intention to contest the charges from a respondent the NCC will notify that respondent of the dates when the Panel can attend a hearing to be held no less than 28 days and except in exceptional circumstances, no later than two months after the notice of available dates is sent. The respondent will be required to reply to the notice within seven days of it being sent, identifying one or more of the NCC’s available dates that s/he could attend a hearing on. Failure to reply or identify available dates for the hearing could lead to a hearing date being agreed by the NCC without further notice to the respondent.
7. Where the complainant or in cases where there are multiple complainants, at least one of them has chosen to utilise the sexual harassment specific procedures, the hearing of
charges of sexual harassment will differ from the usual format of NCC hearings detailed in appendix 6 of the Labour Party Rule Book in that:
i. The complainant(s) and other witness(es) called by the NEC presenter will not be required to meet with a respondent, respondent’s legal representative/silent friend or witness(es) nor the respondent’s witnesses to meet with the presenter, presenter’s legal representative/silent friend or witness(es).
ii. In addition to the room in which the Panel will conduct the hearing, each party to the charges will be provided with a private waiting room for themselves, legal representatives/silent friend and witnesses. There will be another room, to be known as the viewing room, that each party, their legal representative/silent friend will be able to use privately to watch a live video feed of the opposition witnesses being questioned by the party calling them and the Panel.
iii. When the respondent and his/her legal representative/silent friend are in the hearing, the complainant(s) may be present in the viewing room to watch the NEC presenter/presenter’s legal representative’s opening statement, and the closing statements of the presenter and respondent or their legal representatives. The complainant may with the agreement of the presenter/presenter’s legal representative be present in the viewing room to watch the respondent/respondent’s legal representative’s opening statement and the questioning of the respondent and any witnesses called by the respondent.
8. While neither party nor their legal representatives may directly cross examine the opposing party’s witnesses the NCC will invite the presenter of the NEC’s charges and each respondent to provide questions that they would like the NCC panel to ask each of the opposing party’s witnesses.
9. At the end of the process stated at 1-8 above the proceedings will continue as stated in appendix 6 of the Labour Party Rule Book.