Information

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 five of the procedure - appeal

Where either the complainer or the subject of complaint are unsatisfied with the decision, they can appeal within 10 working days of being notified of the decision.

The complainer or subject of complaint should make their written appeal to the Scottish Government. The written appeal should clearly set out  the grounds for appeal, the outcome sought, and provide any supporting information and evidence.

Grounds for appeal could include (but are not limited to):

  • where new evidence has come to light that may change the outcome of the decision
  • procedural errors where there is evidence the process was incorrectly followed

The SG nominated contact will assign the appeal to an external appeal decision maker who has had no prior involvement with any aspect of the matter being raised, and no close association with the complainer or the subject of complaint. The SG nominated contact will notify the complainer and the subject of complaint when this has been done.

The complainer or the subject of complaint bringing the appeal will be offered a meeting with the appeal decision maker to present their case. This will be offered without unreasonable delay, giving at least five working days’ notice of the meeting. Where the appeal is brought by the complainer, they will be informed that they may be accompanied at the meeting 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.

The appeal decision maker will offer the other party not appealing the opportunity to comment on the grounds for appeal.

Appeals should be dealt with without unreasonable delay. The complainer and subject of complaint will be informed of any delays.

Following the appeal meeting, the appeal decision maker will take into account all the information and evidence provided at the appeal stage and review the original decision. They will consider whether the procedure was applied correctly and fairly, whether there were reasonable grounds for the decision, and whether the decision was fair and appropriate.

There may be circumstances where it would be appropriate for the appeal to be conducted as a re-hearing.

If an appeal is to be conducted as a re-hearing, the appeal decision maker will inform the SG nominated contact, the complainer and the subject of the complaint.

If an appeal is to be conducted as a re-hearing, the appeal stage may be paused for further investigation and reconvene when the investigation has been carried out with any resulting evidence provided to all appropriate parties. The further investigation will be carried out following the process described at stage 2.

Following the review or re-hearing, the appeal decision maker will notify the complainer and the subject of complaint of their decision by letter. They will also notify the outcome to the SG nominated contact.

Should any action need to be taken following the appeal, the SG nominated contact will ensure appropriate steps are taken. This may include revisiting the actions as set out at stage 4 and steps to evaluate the application of this procedure.

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