Executive Summary: Obstacle Course - How the UK’s National Contact Point handles human rights complaints under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
The UK NCP, based in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), enjoys a reputation as being one of the best performing. This is largely the result of structural and procedural reforms introduced in 2008 following criticism of the NCP’s handling of allegations of misconduct by British companies operating in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo... This study considers the trends in the 25 complaints alleging breaches of the human rights principles of the Guidelines that have been submitted to the UK NCP since the 2011 revision. It categorises the business sectors associated with the complaints and details the nature of the allegations against the companies concerned. The report examines how complaints have been dealt with by the UK NCP across three stages – initial assessment, mediation and determination. It assesses the extent to which the NCP complies with the OECD Guidelines’ implementation procedures and the extent to which the NCP’s statements and decisions are aligned with the Human Rights chapter of the Guidelines. Recommendations are made for improving the effectiveness of the UK NCP with regard to these findings.
The main findings and conclusions are as follows: Lack of predictability, accessibility and compatibility with the Guidelines...Ignoring objectives of complainants...Inappropriately high evidential thresholds...Inconsistency and invention...Downplaying future impacts...The Steering Board loses its grip...Partiality...Under-resourced