Making a formal complaint about a minister’s or former minister’s behaviour: procedure

Procedure for civil servants making a complaint about a Scottish Government minister or former Scottish Government minister.


Date of operation

This procedure is in operation from 22 December 2022.

Aims of the procedure

The policy aim of this procedure, in line with our general commitment to staff to creating a workplace free from bullying, harassment and discrimination, is to ensure that formal complaints raised about current or former Ministers in respect of unacceptable behaviour towards civil servants are handled sensitively, fairly and timeously and in doing so all parties are treated with respect and dignity.

The procedure provides for the handling of formal complaints made by civil servants about the behaviour (including bullying, harassment, discrimination, or any other unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of staff) of a Minister or former Minister, in the course of discharging their duties as civil servants in their employment by the Scottish Government (‘SG’). This includes addressing related issues within such complaints, such as the action of the SG in preventing or addressing the alleged behaviour.

The procedure does not provide for any decision on the conduct of a Minister or former Minister. The First Minister has responsibility to judge the standards of behaviour expected of a Minister, including in their interactions with civil servants, and of the appropriate consequences of a breach of those standards. 

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