Publication - Advice and guidance

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

Published: 13 Jan 2022
Directorate:
People Directorate

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

Making a formal complaint about a minister’s or former minister’s behaviour: updated procedure
Stage 4

Stage four of the procedure - employer action

The SG nominated contact will share the final report, the decision letter and any other recommendations with the Permanent Secretary or delegate.

The SG nominated contact will consider the report and ensure that any recommendations are considered and implemented as appropriate. This may include arrangements to engage with the complainer on further action. Further action could include: steps to support and protect staff wellbeing, to ensure a positive working environment, and to ensure lessons are learnt for the future. For complaints which are not upheld, this could include actions to resolve remaining issues informally or other management actions.

Where there is evidence that staff have not acted in good faith when raising a complaint or not represented the facts truthfully and in line with SG’s Standards of Behaviour, this may be regarded as a disciplinary issue and taken forward using the SG disciplinary procedure.

Where the complaint is about a current Minister, the Permanent Secretary or delegate will inform the First Minister and provide a copy of the decision letter. The First Minister will be informed where a current Minister has declined to co-operate with the procedure. Where the complaint is about the current First Minister, the Permanent Secretary or a delegate will inform the Deputy First Minister and provide a copy of the decision letter. The Deputy First Minister will be informed where a current First Minister has declined to co-operate with the procedure.

Where a complaint about a current Minister is upheld, it will be for the First Minister to consider whether a relevant provision of the Ministerial Code has been breached by the Minister and to decide on the appropriate response.

Where a complaint about a former Minister is upheld, the Permanent Secretary or delegate will consider steps to review practice within the Scottish Government to ensure the working environment is free from unacceptable behaviour. This may include sharing structural lessons with the First Minister in a format that ensures that confidentiality within the procedure is maintained (including that no information is shared that would reveal the identity of the complainer or the subject of complaint). The First Minister may wish to consider any lessons relevant to ensuring awareness and adherence to the Ministerial Code.