One of Shami Chakrabarti’s key recommendations based on the assessment that the Labour Party doesn’t have the skills and knowledge to run a legally safe disciplinary process; she recommends the appointment of a General Counsel and increased training and legal accreditation of members of the Compliance Unit.
I question whether the Compliance Unit should provide the secretariat for the NCC and the Disputes committee. In the private sector, the role of Compliance is to ensure that the whole organisation keeps to the law. It requires a segregation of duties to perform this work. Chakrabarti has recognised this that the same unit cannot prosecute disciplinary offences and ensure that the prosecution is within the law. In corporate governance terms, Compliance is a second line of defence. It should be ensuring that the membership department does its job within the law.
Further complication in structuring the Compliance function is the EU’s recent General Data Protection Regulation. This states that any private sector organisation employing more than 250 staff must have a Data Protection Officer, who is adequately skilled and resourced. This person must understand the Law and “adequate technical protection”. I suspect that the Labour Party head office and the Compliance Unit lacks these skills too.