Taskforce for Positive Change

Taskforce for Positive Change Progress Updates

In Spring 2020, GMB commissioned an independent investigation into sexual harassment and our organisational culture.

Published in September 2020, the report makes difficult reading and highlights a number of serious issues that our union must tackle.

The independent investigation found that GMB was institutionally sexist and that bullying and harassment are endemic within our structures.

As a union we have no option but to face up to the scale of this long-standing problem across the organisation, to apologise - and now work towards the sort of transformational change that is needed to ensure our union lives by the values we fight for every day on behalf of our members.

This page provides a running update on the actions taken by GMB to implement the recommendations in the independent investigation, and to show progress as it is made.

Taskforce Update - June 2023

At GMB Congress 2022, the Taskforce for Positive Change presented an update on its work, which was passed by a vote of Congress delegates.

You can read the update in a PDF download below.

GMB Congress 2023 - Taskforce for Positive Change

Taskforce Update - June 2022

At GMB Congress 2022, the Taskforce for Positive Change presented an update on its work, which was passed by a vote of Congress delegates.

You can read the update in a PDF download below. 

GMB Congress 2022 - Taskforce for Positive Change

Taskforce Update - 15/09/2021

As we mark the one-year anniversary since the publication of the Monaghan Report, we’d like to take this opportunity to update you on the progress and achievements of the Taskforce for Positive Change since January 2021.

The Monaghan report also highlighted the structural barriers for other equality strands, particularly race. It was then drawn to our attention by the CEC race reserved seats members, that the Dr. Elizabeth Henry report 2002/3 recommendations had never been fully implemented. Therefore, the scope of the Taskforce has widened from 27 to 36 recommendations to include the 9 recommendations from Dr. Elizabeth Henry.

We recognise that from an external perspective the work of the Taskforce appears slow. However, there has been considerable progress against the backdrop of Covid 19, and structural changes within the organisation.

Click here for Barbara Plant National GMB President’s video update on the Taskforce for Positive Change

What has the Taskforce been working on over the last year?

  • The CEC Special Report to Congress was passed in June 2021 which meant that all the recommendations were given the green light to be implemented. Please click here to read the full report which includes the names of your CEC and NNC representatives on the taskforce.
  • 3 of the 27 Monaghan recommendations have been successfully completed, 16 are in progress & 8 yet to start
  • 1 of the 9 Henry report recommendations has been successfully completed, 5 are in progress & 3 yet to start
  • The 4 sub-groups of the Taskforce – race equality, data, training and staff matters are well established and are working through the priority recommendations in their particular area.

What will the Taskforce deliver by the end of 2021?

  • Member and staff consultation to be launched in September 2021 providing 5 different routes for both staff & members to feed in and implement the recommendations both nationally and regionally (see flow chart below). A priority of this consultation will be the race sub-group consulting with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and members in line with a key recommendation of the Henry report.
  • The new sexual harassment policy for staff has been drafted, and we are now going through its final checks with legal services. A new policy for members will be drafted next. Once the legal checks for both policies are completed, we will then consult before proceeding with the implementation and training of staff and members across the organisation.
  • The development and implementation of a new Safeguarding policy including training for staff and lay post holders, that will ensure that the safeguarding of staff and members is paramount across the organisation.

What can I do to be part of changing the culture of GMB and implementing the recommendations?

  • In the next month we will be launching a wider consultation for members and staff with 5 different ways to feed in.
  • One way is we have asked staff and members to feed is to an anonymous 3 question survey, where we want to know what is working, where barriers still exist and the vision for a better, safer, and more inclusive union.
  • Please check back to the website and look out for further emails over the next month as we launch other ways for members and staff to have their say in more detail.
  • This will include guidance on how regions can continue to support, feedback, and implement recommendations as well as further consultation on policies, procedures and opportunities.

Taskforce Update - 15/06/2021

Special Report to Congress - Passed

On Sunday 6th June 20201, the Positive Change Special Report to Congress was presented and successfully passed, with all recommendations being accepted. The full report and details of the progress made by the Taskforce and the four sub-groups (Race Equality, Data, Training and Staff Matters), with the implementation of the recommendations from both the Monaghan and Henry report is now well under way and can be found here.

This was a historical moment for GMB, as well as a great achievement for the Taskforce, and we can ensure you that there will be many more achievements to come that you will be kept updated on through various channels over the coming year in line with the Taskforce's Stakeholder Engagement Plan.

However, this success has to be shared with you all, so we would like to take this opportunity to thank members and staff for all your hard work, commitment and support following the publication of the Monaghan report, which despite the challenges has seen the creation of the Taskforce and the start of the process to implement the 36 recommendations from both the Monaghan and Henry report.

Monaghan Recommendations

Henry Recommendations

We have now concluded our first round of stakeholder engagement with Dr Helen Mott, our Independent External Facilitator on the Taskforce presenting the Special Report and its recommendations, at the All - Staff meeting Tuesday 15th June. This was an opportunity for members and staff to ask any questions about the report, the recommendations, and the progress made by the Taskforce to date. Gary Smith, our newly appointed General Secretary was also in attendance to outline his commitment to the Taskforce and the report recommendations.

The Taskforce is due to next meet 28th June 2021 and following this meeting there will be another update early July, so please keep checking back for updates.

Taskforce Update - 28/05/2021

Project Manager Appointed

The Taskforce met on Monday 24th May and welcomed the recently appointed Project Manager, Nichole McIntosh, who will join the Taskforce working two days a week.

Nichole is an experienced manager with 15 years programme and project management experience, developing projects that work with vulnerable young people and their families from marginalised groups specifically Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. Throughout her career, working in both the public, private and third sector, Nichole has been committed to social justice and actively promoting anti-discriminatory practice and equal opportunities regarding staff and service users, in line with legislation and best practice.

The Taskforce look forward to working with Nichole in driving through the recommendations.

Subgroups of the Taskforce

All 4 subgroups, set up to focus on specific recommendations from the Monaghan and Henry reports, have now met at least once and were able to report back to the Taskforce on the initial focus for discussion and progress within each group. A reminder of those groups are: 

  • Race Equality – The group have prioritised looking at the Dr Elizabath Henry report and its nine recommendations, in line with current legislation, since the report was written in 2002. To recognise and support the breadth of this work and to provide capacity, a GMB officer on the Taskforce and subgroup has been released to support this work for a number of days a week.
  • Data - This group will assess, report and make recommendations on how equalities monitoring data is recorded, collected and monitored across branches and regions and for staff across the union, in order to understand where equality groups are underrepresented in the union.
  • Training - the group focussed their discussions around recommendation 14 – General Secretary/Regional Secretary management training and also considered the previous Sexual Harassment training delivered in 2019 across the organisation, which falls under recommendation 23.
  • Staff Matters - the group focussed their first session discussing recommendation 4, in particular, the element of this recommendation concerning the setting of fixed number of hours.

Stakeholder Engagement

As part of the Taskforce’s initial stakeholder engagement plan from May to June, Dr Helen Mott has met with both the Central Executive Council (elected lay members) and Senior Management Team and will be meeting Staff on the 15th June at a staff webinar.

At the CEC meeting on 17th May 2021, the CEC also agreed the Special Report from the Taskforce to GMB Congress in June, and Helen Mott, also answered any questions. 4 of the Staff reps, including from the Taskforce were also in attendance and able to ask questions.

If passed at Congress, the Special Report will be circulated and accessible on the GMB website from mid-June onwards.

The Taskforce is currently also working on development of future opportunities and channels for members, activists and staff, across the union to feed into the Taskforce’s work. The Taskforce is due to next meet  28th June 2021.

Please keep checking here for further updates.

Taskforce Update - 07/05/2021

The Taskforce met again on 19 April 2021 and has set up 4 subgroups and each group will focus on specific recommendations from the Monaghan and Henry reports. Each Taskforce will be co-chaired by one staff member and one CEC member.

The group looking at recommendations from the Elizabeth Henry report have already met and agreed a number of action points. The subgroup recognise the huge task ahead of them and have agreed to meet fortnightly. In addition, Midlands and East Coast region have agreed to release a GMB officer’s time from his duties to be able to dedicate 3 days a week for the work of the Taskforce. The other subgroups are due to meet shortly.

There will be a Special Report from the Taskforce to GMB Congress in June. The special report will be on the agenda for agreement by the CEC at their meeting on 17 May 2021 and Helen Mott, External Facilitator to the Taskforce will be in attendance.
We would like to remind you of the details for The Survivors Trust below:

GMB Confidential Helpline and Online Support Service

Freephone 08088 010 788

Email: info@thesurvivorstrust.org

Anyone can be affected by bullying or sexual harassment, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or role in an organisation and the effects can be devastating. The impact can be felt throughout an organisation and work team. Often people don’t know where to get advice or help either for themselves or for a colleague.

If you’ve been affected by sexual harassment or bullying in any way, the GMB Confidential Helpline which is run independently by The Survivors Trust, offers you the opportunity to speak with someone who understands just how difficult it can be to reach out for help.

They are open every day of the week and you can leave an answerphone message at any time requesting a call back or use our confidential email service if you prefer with responses by the next day. If you are in need of information or support, the line is here for you.

The 08088 number is free for you to use and will not show up on your phone or any phone bills. If you prefer to remain anonymous you can hide your phone number on a landline by dialling 141 before the helpline number – for mobiles, check with your network provider that this service is available with your mobile network. The info@ email address is confidential.

The next meeting of the Taskforce is 24 May 2021.

Taskforce Update - 09/04/2021

The Taskforce met on March 30th for the second time and will meet again on 19th April and 24th May.

At the March meeting it was agreed that there will be a Special Report from the Taskforce to GMB Congress this June. GMB congress normally is held annually and is made up of lay representatives of the 9 regions of GMB, who vote on policies of the union. It is the democratic heart of how as a union we make decisions and set industrial priorities.

This Special Report will confirm actions taken so far on recommendations from both the Karon Monaghan QC and Dr Elizabeth Henry reports and will outline necessary future steps to achieve transformational change in our union.

As with all Special Reports for Congress this will need to be agreed by the CEC and therefore there will be a special meeting of the CEC in May 2021.

Helen Mott, as the Taskforce External Facilitator, will attend the meeting to speak to the Special Report and to give the CEC an opportunity to hear from her directly.

The NNC, (the GMB staff union) has been invited to send 4 representatives who will be in attendance for this special meeting, the NNC Chair, the Secretary, and both NNC Taskforce members.

Following this meeting, there will be two further stakeholders engagement meetings:-

  • Meeting with GMB Senior Management Team
  • Meeting with all members of GMB staff.

Both with an opportunity to speak directly to Helen Mott.

If the Special Report is adopted at Congress, the report will be published on our website in mid June.

Taskforce Update - 21/12/2020

On 10 December, a group of CEC members of the taskforce representing different equality reserved seats interviewed candidates for the External Facilitator position.

GMB is pleased to announce that the panel appointed Helen Mott, an independent consultant into this position. Helen is a highly experienced sexual harassment and gender equality consultant and trainer, who has worked for over 20 years with NGOs, national and local government, and many other organisations, in transforming workplace culture through policy and practise.

Helen's wealth of experience and expertise will help support the established taskforce in implementing the recommendations from Karon's report. The taskforce is due to meet early in the new year

CEC Update - 05/11/2020

On the 5 November, the CEC met for a special meeting which included several agenda  items covering the Karon Monaghan report and accompanying recommendations, updates and actions.

 The makeup of the taskforce, a group created to lead on recommendations and other work stemming from the report.

The appointment of an external facilitator, an action previously agreed by the CEC, to support the work of the taskforce.

Changes to the recruitment and interview process for regional secretary appointments in line with the Karon Monaghan report recommendations.


The CEC agreed that the taskforce will consist of 17 people, including representation from different key stakeholder groups, including CEC members, GMB regional and national staff and GMB staff union representatives.

There will be12 seats for CEC members, ensuring representation from all of GMB’s 5 equality reserved seats, all GMB regions and industrial sectors.

CEC Reserved seat numbers on the taskforce were agreed to be roughly 50% of the total number of reserved seats on the CEC.

  • 1 LGBT+ Reserved seat 
  • 1  Disabled reserved seat 
  • 1  Young reserved seat 
  • 3  Race reserved seats 
  • 5 Regional women's seats
  • National President Barbara Plant
  • 2  seats - Regional Equality Officers
  • 2 seats - National Negotiating Committee reps (staff union)
  • 2 seats - Director of  Human Resources and the National Equality and Inclusion Officer

External Facilitator

The CEC also agreed that CEC members of the Taskforce will form an interview panel to appoint an external facilitator. This will be from an agreed shortlist of suitable candidates, decided by the CEC, who will be invited to an interview.

Regional Secretary Recruitment Process

Due to 2 Regional Secretary vacancies arising, the CEC accepted changes to the recruitment process inline with the Karon Monaghan report and best practise including:

The appointment of an independent external Observer to be present at both the assessment day and formal interviews for these vacancies.

The outgoing Regional Secretary will not be present at either stage of the interview process. 

And in line with existing guidelines:

The interview panel will be gender balanced and appropriately reflect equality and diversity strands. The panel will also reflect industrial, Regional and National representation.

All panel members will have completed appropriate Interview training.

CEC Update - 22/09/2020

GMB’s Central Executive Council (CEC) met on Tuesday 22 September to discuss the recently published Monaghan Report and the recommendations that were put forward as a result of the independent investigation.

All the report’s recommendations were agreed in principle and a taskforce will now be set up to start working on implementation. The taskforce composition was agreed, to include representatives from CEC members and staff, and an external facilitator will be appointed to facilitate the task force.

Other recommendations that will be adopted, with immediate effect, are the inclusion of the National Equality Officer on the Senior Management Team and that Regional Secretaries will no longer attend CEC meetings for the time being.

The Monaghan Report cannot be an investigation that is conducted then forgotten about. We will be monitoring and publishing our progress on this webpage, so that our members can see exactly what we are doing and when.

The Safe Space provided by the Survivors Trust may remain a permanent facility available to members and staff, and this can be accessed here

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