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This is not an official website of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either the House or its committees. All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in these webpages are those of the groups.

What is this Safe Space Policy for?

Here at Policy Connect we work to maintain a working environment that is safe for all involved. This policy sets out how Policy Connect expects both its staff and guests to behave in its spaces. 

Summary of terms – safety in Policy Connect spaces

  • Sexual harassment is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature whether it is verbal, non-verbal or physical.

  • Tone policing is defined as someone critiquing the tone an individual uses when making an argument as opposed to the content they speak.

  • Bullying is defined as persistent behaviour which is intended to hurt another either physically or emotionally: verbal, non-verbal or physical behaviour that is intimidating, degrading, offensive or malicious and undermines the confidence and self-esteem of the recipient.

  • Policy Connect Spaces are defined as our Policy Connect/APPG/forum/commission events, office space, on emails, social media or shared digital spaces such as documents.

Maintaining a safe space

Policy Connect requests that all those taking part in our activities pay attention to their conduct and behaviour to ensure that it does not jeopardise safety.

We are committed to providing events, meetings and environments where our team, members and guests can respect each other. All those involved are responsible for their own language and behaviour and respect should be given to each other’s boundaries.

Activities that Policy Connect will not tolerate includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Bullying
  • Using offensive language
  • Misgendering an individual
  • Making assumptions about an individual based on perceived characteristics
  • Sharing sensitive content online without warning/consent
  • Tone policing

Our events, meetings and research

Policy Connect works to ensure that our events and meetings are as accessible as possible.

As a majority of our events and meetings are held in Parliament, there are occasions where the age of the venue limits accessibility, for instance in providing gender neutral bathrooms.

The nature of these venues often means that multiple other organisations and individuals will be present in the building. For our events, we maintain a guest list and provide these prior to events to all registered and to the Houses of Parliament for security reasons. This means we can monitor those attending as much as possible.

For any activities that require the involvement of minors and vulnerable adults, we ask for express permission from guardians for involvement and any photography.

Research projects sometimes require members of staff to interview individuals. For such interviews, whether in the Policy Connect office, Parliament or elsewhere, we expect participants to follow the Safety in Policy Connect Spaces policy.

Procedure

If guests or members of the Policy Connect team feel that a violation of this policy has occurred, they are encouraged to make a senior member or their line manager in the Policy Connect team aware in the first instance. This can be done either in person at the time, or by email, or at a later date.A senior member of the team will then discuss this with the complainant and together they will decide appropriate actions to take, and attempt to resolve this informally where possible in the first instance.We also have a bullying and harassment policy and a disciplinary policy that we will follow according to the situation (for instance if this relates to an external stakeholder, our processes will be different to that of an employee).

Actions that ensue could include:

  • Informal warnings and requests for an apology
  • Formal warnings about behaviour
  • Removal of an individual from all, or part, of an event.
  • Removal of an individual from contact, invitations and further engagement with Policy Connect