The number of incidents of bullying within the Government in the last five years: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

For the number of incidents of bullying within the Scottish Government (SG) for the last 5 years, split between directorates. You also stated that you would be content for the information to be provided using any local survey run by the Scottish Government each year.


While our aim is to provide information wherever possible, line managers in the Scottish Government are encouraged to deal with concerns about bullying, at an early stage on an informal basis under the Grievance policy, where appropriate. There is no requirement to report informal action to HR and therefore this is formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not hold information about incidents of bullying. Information is, however, available about complaints of bullying.

Information about complaints of bullying has been published on the Scottish Government website: Details of the number of formal complaints of bullying during the period 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2018 was released in September 2018. This information can be accessed via the hyperlink below:

Internal harrassment/bullying claims lodged in the last 5 years: FOI release - (

Details of the number of formal complaints of bullying during the period 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2019 was released in March 2020.This information can be accessed via the hyper link below:

Complaints about bullying, workplace harassment and discrimination: FOI release - (

For the remaining period (that is, between 1 January 2020 and 28 June 2022 (the date of your request)), there have been 11 complaints of bullying. Please note, this information relates to the core directorates within the Scottish Government (see Annex A for details).

Additional information in response to your request is contained in Annex B. Given the small numbers, and to minimise the possibility of individual staff being identified, it is not possible for us to provide you with information broken down by Directorate as you have requested.

The Scottish Government People Survey which is run annually contains questions in which individuals are asked to indicate if they have experienced discrimination, bullying or harassment during the previous 12 months.\

There are summaries of the results of the Scottish Government People Survey for 2017 to 2019 published on the Scottish Government website. Information relating to instances of discrimination, bullying and harassment are contained within section E of the survey results. These summaries can be accessed via the hyper link below:

Scottish Government People Survey 2005 to 2019 - (

From 2020 onwards, the Scottish Government’s results were incorporated within a UK-wide Civil Service staff survey results document. Information on the results of the staff surveys conducted in 2020 and 2021 can be accessed via the hyper link below:

Civil Service people surveys - GOV.UK (

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the websites listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI 202200308354 - Information released - Annex A & B


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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