The leaders of Plaid Cymru have apologized after a report into the culture of the party found it “failed to implement a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment”.
It also found there had been “inaction over many years” from those in “positions of power” to call out bad behavior.
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price and chair Marc Jones said they were “deeply sorry” and have agreed to “accept and implement” all of the report’s recommendations.
In a joint statement, they admitted there had been instances “where by unacceptable behavior has been allowed to take place”.
“It is clear that there are instances – both historically and in more recent times – where by unacceptable behavior has been allowed to take place or go unchallenged and that our processes and governance arrangements have been inadequate to address this. Individuals have been let down as a result – women especially, but also men,” they said.
“For that, on behalf of the collective leadership of Plaid Cymru, we are deeply sorry.”
Mr Price and Mr Jones added that the party “must do better” if it is to “foster a culture which is safe, inclusive, and respectful to all”.
That, they say, is how they intend to “regain the trust of colleagues and members”.
The report was commissioned after media reports of “a toxic culture surrounding harassment, bullying and misogyny” within the party.
Plaid Cymru is the third largest group in the Senedd and is part of a co-operation agreement with the Welsh government in Cardiff. It also has three MPs at Westminster.
The Prosiect Pawb working group was commissioned by the party’s National Executive Committee in December 2022 and the review was chaired by former Plaid Senedd member Nerys Evans.
The report which was published on Wednesday says there is an “inherent imbalance of power” within the party which creates “obvious vulnerabilities and concerns”.
It refers to “inaction over many years” from those in “positions of power” which it says has “made a bad situation even worse”.
The report highlights a “lack of policies and procedures in place to deal specifically with sexual harassment” and a “lack of faith and trust” in the policies which are already in place due to “historic issues of inconsistencies” in how they are implemented.
According to the report, party staff have reported “bullying and discrimination in the workplace” but have “seen too many instances of bad behavior by elected members be tolerated”.
The report calls for a “fundamental review” of the party’s governance structures and added that there had been “a lack of collective leadership and governance across the party” which meant issues had “worsened over the last few years”.
“Change will require collective responsibility and action, and there has to be, at the outset, an honest and open acknowledgment at senior level of the failures of the past and of the need to rebuild trust and restore the confidence of all those who work for the party, and within party membership,” the report adds.
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The full report makes 82 recommendations under seven themes – sexual harassment, governance and leadership, culture, HR process, safeguarding, complaints system and ensuring change.