Official/formal complaints and investigations around breaches of the Civil Service Code since 2014: FOI release

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

Information requested

Information about official/formal complaints and investigations around breaches of the Civil Service Code since 2014. To include:

  • The date of each complaint.
  • A brief description of the nature of the complaint.
  • General information about who made the complaint (i.e. member of the public, politician, another member of the civil service, etc).
  • The result of the investigation (i.e. upheld, partially upheld, etc).
  • The sanction imposed on any department/civil servant as a result of the complaint.

You noted that you are not seeking any personal information about individuals involved.


While our aim is to provide information wherever possible, I am unable to provide all of the information you have requested. An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

This response covers Scottish Government Core Directorates.

In response to your request for information from 2014 I would refer you to FOI/18/00266 which covered complaints up to 30 January 2018.

Between 31 January 2018 to 30 May 2023 we received 20 complaints under the Civil Service Code, of which 19 were brought to our attention by external parties and 1 internal. Of the 20 cases, 5 were received in 2018; 1 in 2019; 7 in 2020; 1 in 2021; 5 in 2022; and 1 in 2023. All were/are being investigated following our conduct policies. Dependant on who is making a complaint there are different procedures within the core Scottish Government which should be followed.

Civil Servants and others carrying out work for the Scottish Government e.g. agency workers, contractors can raise complaints under the Raising a Concern under the Civil Service Code and Whistleblowing Policy.

Complaints from members of the public about our service or our staff are dealt with under our complaint handling process.

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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