Code of Conduct: Confidentiality and Privacy
All codes of conduct and NEC statements form part of the agreed relationship between individual Labour Party members, and set the minimum code of conduct expected by the Labour Party of all its members.
The Labour Party takes seriously its obligations of confidentiality and privacy. The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to provide clarify to its members as to when matters should be kept confidential, whilst also clarifying the circumstances in which the Labour Party and its members may disclose information in an appropriate manner that does not risk breaching the Labour Party’s rules, codes of conduct, policies and/or guidelines.
1. Labour Party members operate in a data-driven world, where personal data must be handled in a lawful, transparent, fair and proportionate manner.
2. Members have a right to maintain privacy and confidentiality over their personal affairs in accordance with the law.
3. The Labour Party has a right to maintain confidentiality over its information, documents and activities where it is necessary to do so to protect the interests of the Labour Party and where to do so is required by law.
4. Breaches of confidentiality may put the interests of the Labour Party, its members and supporters at risk and may damage the Labour Party’s good reputation and standing with the electorate.
5. Confidential matters are:
a. those matters, documents and information which the NEC, or the Labour Party’s national officers acting under the NEC’s delegated powers, expressly declare to be strictly confidential, and/or includes confidential information that should not be shared more widely;
b. minutes of Labour Party meetings; papers for the Labour Party’s national committees; minutes and discussions of the Labour Party’s national committees; membership records; all data pertaining to elections; data relating to individual disciplinary investigations or disciplinary decisions about members;
c. membership records and/or information relating to any individual disciplinary proceedings; and
d. any other matters which through custom and practice ought reasonably to be considered confidential in the opinion of the NEC, (together, “Confidential Matters” hereafter).
6. Without prejudice to the remainder of this Code of Conduct, it shall be understood that paragraph 5(b) above shall not preclude members of such national committees from:
a. having such discussions, or sharing documents that are not strictly confidential, as are appropriate and necessary to prepare for in advance of such national committees;
b. obtaining appropriate assistance in order to undertake their role and/or duties on such national committee(s);
c. reporting back to other Labour Party members; and/or
d. reporting back to an executive committee of such member’s relevant affiliated organisation, in each case, where required by, or ancillary to, their duties under the Labour Party Rule Book. For the avoidance of doubt, and with respect to members of such national committees, reference to “reporting back” shall include those members reporting back to the Division (or Divisions) that they represent on such national committees of the Labour Party.
7. Members of the Labour Party must maintain confidentiality in all Confidential Matters.
8. Members may not waive or breach confidentiality in respect of Confidential Matters save as required by law or with the express permission of the NEC or the General Secretary, or a national officer acting under the delegated power of the General Secretary and authorised to give such permission.
9. It is important that disciplinary action taken by the Labour Party pursuant to Chapters 2, 6, 7, 8 and/or 13 of the Labour Party Rule Book is kept confidential by the Labour Party, its members and its officers so as to maintain the integrity of any disciplinary investigations and to preserve any relevant evidence. Therefore, members must keep information, correspondence and Confidential Matters pertaining to individual disciplinary cases private and must avoid disclosing any such information, correspondence or Confidential Matters to any party, except:
a. Where disclosure is required by law or by a legal obligation;
b. Where it is necessary for a member who is subject to disciplinary proceedings to make disclosure for the purpose of and in order to obtain legal advice, medical or social support, or support from close family members, trade unions, the NEC or any national officer acting under the NEC’s or the General Secretary’s delegated powers;
c. The NEC or any national officer acting under the NEC’s or the General Secretary’s delegated powers may disclose the fact of a disciplinary investigation to third parties if it is necessary to do so in the Labour Party’s interests and only on condition that the identity of the member subject to a disciplinary investigation is not disclosed by the Labour Party;
d. The NEC or any national officer acting under the NEC’s or the General Secretary’s delegated powers may disclose information to correct false reports in the media where to do so is necessary to protect the Labour Party’s reputation or its interests;
e. The NEC or any national officer acting under the NEC’s or the General Secretary’s delegated powers may disclose any matter in relation to a disciplinary investigation or a membership dispute to another national officer, staff member or other person appointed by the Labour Party for the purposes of carrying out a duty or power under the Labour Party Rule Book; and
f. The NEC, the General Secretary or any national officer acting under the NEC’s or the General Secretary’s delegated powers may disclose the outcome of a disciplinary complaint to the person who submitted the complaint.
10. Paragraph 8 of this Code of Conduct does not apply to disciplinary procedures taken pursuant to the Standing Orders of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
11. The NEC may consider any breach of this Code of Conduct to amount to conduct that is prejudicial and grossly detrimental to the Labour Party within the meaning of Chapter 2, Clause 1.8 of the Labour Party Rule Book depending on the facts of the case.
You can download the full Labour Party rule book – which contains all of Labour’s codes of conduct – below.