MPs and civil servants in particular are guilty of transgressive behavior in the House of Representatives. And that behavior is insufficiently addressed. This emerges from research by Utrecht University into social safety in the Chamber.
More than a third of the MPs and employees in the House of Representatives who participated in the survey suffer from gossip, bullying, discrimination or other transgressive behavior by other people in the House. The researchers speak of “a large minority”.
According to them, this indicates that it is more than a series of incidents. “The research points to deeper patterns and mechanisms that pose concrete and persistent risks.”
Sabotage and yelling
Participants in the survey say that they have been confronted with disparaging remarks, defamation, discrimination, sabotage, bullying, name-calling and shouting. Pressure to do something that goes against the rules or is not ethical also occurs, as do threats and (sexual) intimidation.
428 civil servants, 173 party employees and 38 MPs participated in the study. The most frequently mentioned source of transgressive behavior was the official management. More than a quarter is attributed to senior civil servants, while they only make up 4 percent of the workforce.
Members of parliament are also mentioned as perpetrators by the participants in more than a quarter of the cases. They make up 9 percent of the people who work in the Chamber.
Fear of negative consequences
The investigation also shows that the social safety of both the reporters and the accused is insufficiently guaranteed. “There seems to be a certain reluctance (…) to report transgressive behaviour, and fear of negative consequences or a lack of trust in reporting channels play into this,” the report said.
According to the researchers, the policy on undesirable behavior falls short. “Partly because it is insufficiently widely and visibly supported and lived up to by the Presidium and other MPs, and the administrative managers.” The Presidium is responsible for the day-to-day management of the House, headed by President Bergkamp.
Bergkamp decided to investigate after she had received many signals of undesirable behavior within the House of Representatives.
- The House of Representatives is investigating social safety in its own building