Get help: The ICGS helpline
The ICGS Helpline: supporting those affected by bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct
If you feel you have experienced, witnessed, been accused of or are supporting someone with bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct, the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) Helpline can provide you with support and guidance on the options available to you and the processes involved.
Telephone: 0808 168 9281 (freephone)
Text relay: 18001 0808 168 9281
Opening Hours 9am–6pm Monday to Friday
All advice will be independent and politically impartial.
Confidential and independent
The Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) Helpline is confidential and independent of Parliament.
Delivered by Victim Support
The service is delivered by Victim Support, an independent charity who provide specialist support services to those affected by crime and traumatic events. All advice will be independent and politically impartial.
Who can use the Helpline?
The Helpline is available to current and former members of the Parliamentary community, whether your experience happened on the Parliamentary Estate, in a constituency office, or while undertaking parliamentary work elsewhere. It is also available to visitors to the Parliamentary Estate in Westminster.
Is the Helpline confidential?
You do not have to give your name when contacting the Helpline. It is completely up to you what information you would like to share. Formal complaints for investigation cannot however be made anonymously, but it is your decision whether or not you want to make a formal complaint. Our Independent Support and Information Advisors (ISIAs) are trained and experienced to support you.
How can the ICGS Helpline help me in cases of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct?
The Helpline can:
Provide initial independent advice if you have experienced or been accused of bullying, harassment, or sexual misconduct or if you have a general enquiry.
Provide an overview of your rights.
Provide a confidential and safe space for you to explore your options based on the incident(s) you have experienced, including providing:
- advice on dealing with the issue informally
- information on policies and procedures and how you can support others with their experiences of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct
- information on how to initiate a formal complaint, if you choose.
- information on how to access legal advice
- emotional support, either on an ongoing or immediate basis.
- signposting to additional forms of support, both within and external to Parliament
Will you inform line managers or HR if I call the helpline or make a complaint?
All parties to a complaint are expected to maintain confidentiality. The helpline does not disclose information to line managers or HR when you make a complaint. The only exception is if the ICGS Helpline identifies safety concerns, such as risk of harm to an individual.
In such circumstances, the Helpline has a duty of care, in line with their safeguarding and risk management responsibilities, to notify any relevant statutory agencies and the specified individuals within Parliament.
How can the ICGS Helpline help me in cases of sexual misconduct?
In addition to the support provided by the Helpline, for those who have experienced sexual misconduct access is available to an Independent Sexual Misconduct Advisor (ISMA). An ISMA can provide immediate and ongoing support including helping you decide what you would like to do. This support is available in person as well as on the phone, through email or virtual technology.
An ISMA is trained as an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser, with knowledge of processes and the support available to you both within the ICGS and the criminal justice system. They can accompany and support you through all elements of your enquiry or complaint, so that you remain empowered to decide how you would like to manage your situation.
Please note that ISMAs are unable to support members of the parliamentary community if the incident wasn’t associated with Parliamentary work or did not take place on the Parliamentary premises.
The ISMA can:
- Provide confidential advice and information, appropriate for your situation.
- Advise you about the sexual misconduct policy and process, telling you about available options including other services that can assist you, such as health services or the police if needed.
- Discuss your options with you, including if you choose, how to initiate a formal complaint.
- Provide emotional support/ supporting at meetings – being with you throughout your journey following your Sexual Misconduct experience
What options are available to me within the sexual misconduct policy?
There are 3 options, called pathways that are available to you. It is your choice which pathway you want to use and at what time:
- Pathway 1: Helpline Advice, providing confidential space to talk, emotional support and signposting
- Pathway 2: Appropriate Measures: facilitating an informal resolution between the person making the complaint (Complainant) and the person being complained about (Respondent). This pathway is not available to Peers or their staff as it relates specifically to the sexual misconduct policy rather than the House of Lords code of conduct
- Pathway 3: Making a Formal Complaint: supporting you when making a formal complaint for Investigation. Further detail on these pathways can be found in the Sexual Misconduct Policy
What happens if the Pathway 2 intervention does not resolve the issue and the Respondent's behaviour continues?
If you choose Pathway 2 and the intervention does not resolve the issue, you will be supported by the ISMA to explore additional options or actions, including making a formal complaint for investigation.