Independent Inquiry Update

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Last year the TSSA commissioned a report by Baroness Kennedy KC to examine allegations of sexual harassment and bullying within the TSSA. That report, having been published, and serious concerns having been raised in it, the TSSA is committed to take comprehensive, considered and meaningful action to address its findings. Given the seriousness and complexity of the findings, this will take deep and careful consideration of the way forward.

To enable the necessary further investigation and decisions to be made, the TSSA has suspended all five senior members of staff named in the report by Baroness Kennedy KC This includes former General Secretary, Manuel Cortes. 

In light of the numerous recommendations made by Lady Kennedy’s report which the union’s Executive Committee (EC) has accepted in full, steps will now be taken by the EC to put in a place an administration to lead the union at this critical point, as directed by the report, with the aim of implementing widespread cultural change.

The Union is aware that, as is always the case when bullying and harassment has occurred, that there will have been victims of such conduct. The Union wishes to apologise unreservedly to all of those who have been bullied, harassed or affected, and is committed to understanding what has happened to them, and to take all appropriate steps in response. 

This process is ongoing but is expected to include various stakeholders - including members of the EC, members of TSSA staff, as well as external figures. 

The union’s President and Treasurer stood down on the day the Report was published – as recommended by Baroness Kennedy KC. They have been replaced by interim post-holders. 

The EC was made aware on Wednesday 8th February following the production of the Kennedy Report that Manuel Cortes, the union’s former General Secretary, was still in the employment of the union. This was not previously known to the EC. 

In light of the report, the importance of which the EC takes very seriously, and to ensure that full, appropriate, and effective steps are taken arising from its findings, the former General Secretary has been suspended whilst matters are investigated. 

On Thursday 9 February significant time and effort was put into staff welfare and reaching out to all current members of TSSA staff in the wake of the Kennedy report publication. 

The Interim President and Interim Treasurer led a meeting of all staff where they outlined the views of the EC, expressed solidarity and sympathy with staff and offered ongoing support. They repeated the unanimous view of the EC in accepting the report and its recommendations and commitment to implementing them. 

Independent legal advice was also sought and delivered to the EC regarding the implementation of the report’s recommendations.