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

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

Stage three of the procedure - decision

The decision maker will ensure that a reasonable investigation has been carried out in accordance with the terms of reference. The decision maker may require the investigator to clarify points and update the report. Once satisfied, the decision maker will notify the complainer of the report and provide a copy. The SG nominated contact and the subject of complaint should also receive a copy of the report. This will usually also include any witness statements to ensure openness and transparency in the investigation process.

The decision maker will invite the complainer to a meeting without unreasonable delay, giving at least five working days’ notice and informing them that they may be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague.

The SG nominated contact will arrange for a note taker to be present at the meeting to keep a factual record of the discussions that take place.

At the meeting, the decision maker will allow the complainer to explain their complaint and how they think it should be resolved and clarify any points which are not clear. The decision maker will also offer a meeting to the subject of complaint to allow them to set out their position.

The decision maker should consider adjourning the meeting(s) if it is necessary to investigate any statements made or new facts which arise.

After the meeting(s), the decision maker will assess the evidence put forward, make findings where possible on any contested facts and decide whether to uphold the complaint or not. This may include partially upholding the complaint (for example, if some allegations are found to be justified, and others are not).

The decision maker will have access to appropriate advice through the SG nominated contact, where they may need further guidance or support.

The decision maker will notify the complainer of their decision by letter, including the written notes of the meeting and any recommendations for  action.  They will also notify the outcome to the subject of complaint.  

The decision maker will consider whether it would be appropriate to share the outcome with other staff within the SG who have a legitimate interest in the outcomes. This will be limited to sharing the outcome only where strictly necessary, and all parties will be expected to maintain confidentiality at all times. The decision maker will inform the complainer and the subject of complaint of who else will be told about the decision and the information they will be given. 

The decision maker will share any other recommendations with the SG nominated contact, for the SG to consider with the letter and the investigation report at stage 4.

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