What does politics & sport have in common?

Both are highly competitive though that’s no excuse. To rise within either gains status, power and opportunities to continue the abusive behaviours practiced from school onwards. Let’s look at the most recent high-profile case.

BBC 2020 “Priti Patel: Bullying inquiry head quits as PM backs home secretary

Patel “unreservedly” apologises over bullying claims

Boris Johnson’s adviser on the ministerial code has resigned after the PM backed Home Secretary Priti Patel over a bullying inquiry.

Standards chief Sir Alex Allan found that Ms Patel had broken the code governing ministers’ behaviour.

But the PM rejected his findings, saying he did not think Ms Patel was a bully and had “full confidence” in her.

She gave a “fulsome apology” but said she was not “supported” – at the time claims were made – by her department.

She also said “issues were not pointed out to” her and insisted that “any upset I have caused was completely unintentional”.

Ministers are normally expected to resign if they break the code. But although Sir Alex – who was asked by the PM to investigate the allegations – found the code had been broken, Mr Johnson took a different view and he has the final say.

The prime minister’s spokeswoman insisted Mr Johnson took bullying “very seriously” but “does not believe that Priti Patel is a bully”, pointing to “mitigating circumstances” in Sir Alex’s report and Ms Patel’s “full and frank apology”.

Sir Alex announced his resignation as the prime minister released his statement on the report’s findings.

Boris Johnson has said he continues to have “full confidence” in Priti Patel following a report concluding the home secretary had “unintentionally” breached the ministerial code in her behaviour towards civil servants.

The report’s author, Sir Alex Allen, has quit after PM rejects his findings. Here is the summary of those findings that has been released by the government:

The Ministerial Code says “ministers should be professional in their working relationships with the civil service and treat all those with whom they come into contact with consideration and respect.

I believe civil servants – particularly senior civil servants – should be expected to handle robust criticism but should not have to face behaviour that goes beyond that.

The home secretary says that she puts great store by professional, open relationships. She is action orientated and can be direct.

The home secretary has also become – justifiably in many instances – frustrated by the Home Office leadership’s lack of responsiveness and the lack of support she felt in the Department for International Development (Dfid) three years ago.

The evidence is that this has manifested itself in forceful expression, including some occasions of shouting and swearing.

This may not be done intentionally to cause upset, but that has been the effect on some individuals.

The Ministerial Code says that “harassing, bullying or other inappropriate or discriminating behaviour wherever it takes place is not consistent with the Ministerial Code”.

Definitions of harassment concern comments or actions relating to personal characteristics and there is no evidence from the Cabinet Office’s work of any such behaviour by the Home Secretary.

The definition of bullying adopted by the Civil Service accepts that legitimate, reasonable and constructive criticism of a worker’s performance will not amount to bullying.

It defines bullying as intimidating or insulting behaviour that makes an individual feel uncomfortable, frightened, less respected or put down.

Instances of the behaviour reported to the Cabinet Office would meet such a definition.

The Civil Service itself needs to reflect on its role during this period.

The Home Office was not as flexible as it could have been in responding to the home secretary’s requests and direction. She has – legitimately – not always felt supported by the department.

In addition, no feedback was given to the home secretary of the impact of her behaviour, which meant she was unaware of issues that she could otherwise have addressed.

My advice is that the home secretary has not consistently met the high standards required by the Ministerial Code of treating her civil servants with consideration and respect.

Her approach on occasions has amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals.

To that extent her behaviour has been in breach of the Ministerial Code, even if unintentionally.

This conclusion needs to be seen in context. There is no evidence that she was aware of the impact of her behaviour, and no feedback was given to her at the time.

The high pressure and demands of the role, in the Home Office, coupled with the need for more supportive leadership from top of the department has clearly been a contributory factor.

In particular, I note the finding of different and more positive behaviour since these issues were raised with her.” So in short you’re not a bully if Boris likes you!

Then October 22, 2021 Politico

“LONDON — A total of 388 people contacted a helpline set up to tackle bullying and harassment in the U.K. parliament in the year from July 2020 to June 2021 — the highest number since it was launched in 2018.

Westminster’s independent complaint service was introduced to deal with misconduct by MPs, peers and staff in the wake of the MeToo scandal, when several British ministers lost their jobs over allegations of sexual harassment.

This year 388 people contacted the helpline, compared with 293 in 2019-20 and 285 in 2018-19, according to figures released in the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme annual report.

Forty-eight investigations were completed this year — also the highest number since the scheme began — of which 46 percent were upheld, and 54 percent were rejected.

A review of the system by HR director Alison Stanley earlier this year criticized the length of time taken to investigate complaints and a lack of transparency regarding outcomes.

This year for the first time serious cases were referred to an independent expert panel which published details of complaints upheld against serving MPs Rob Robert (sexual harassment – “strongly rebuked”, but would not lose the whip.) Daniel Kawcyznski (berating staff and telling them they were useless -told to apologise) and former MPs Jared O’Mara (Sexual harassment – has stood down) Mike Hill (Sexual harassment – resigned) and Keith Vaz (bullying – retired.)

However, the annual report showed that investigations are still sluggish, taking an average of 196 days to conclude.

The inquiry into Vaz’s bullying spanned more than two years, and was described by his victim as a “grueling experience.”

Jo Willows, director of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme, said: “The ICGS team and I are continually seeking to improve the scheme for all users. Our improvements will mean a speedier and more efficient service.”

Reading the background to the cases mentioned leads me to believe there is not an ounce of genuine remorse amongst the lot of them. I have no doubt at all, due to the type of character encouraged by the political system, that there will be more scandals until those working in parliament are genuinely encouraged to spot the signs they are about to be bullied and harassed and firmly but politely point out the consequences. #bullyinginparliament #workplacebullying #bullying #harassment #bullyingawareness #bullyingprevention

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