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18-month review of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme published

22 February 2021

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Alison Stanley has today published her 18-month review of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).

Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme

The Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) represents a commitment from both Houses to create a modern workplace where people can work without fear of bullying, harassment or sexual harassment.

The extensive consultation conducted as part of the review included 706 responses to a survey, more than 100 meetings, and 50 confidential contributions by those who had used the ICGS.


The full report is available to read here:

In response to the review John Benger, Clerk of the House of Commons said:

“I welcome Alison Stanley’s recognition that the ICGS is a sophisticated scheme operating in a complex environment, and take extremely seriously the improvements she has recommended. Now is a moment for change and, working with the relevant bicameral groups, I am confident that the ICGS Director and her team will make that change happen, and quickly.”

Ed Ollard, Clerk of the Parliaments said:

“Bullying and harassment have no place in Parliament. The review is a thorough and helpful analysis of the progress we have made in addressing such behaviour, and the areas to improve. I am grateful to Alison and her team for their work in bringing it forward. It makes clear and welcome recommendations to speed up the time it takes to consider cases, promote the confidence of complainants and respondents about the operation of the ICGS, to ensure clear communication about the scheme, and to streamline decision-making.”

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

Kathryn Stone OBE, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, responded to the publication of the review:

"I would like to thank Alison Stanley for her careful review into the work of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme. The ICGS has made great progress in developing a fair, thorough and consistent process for addressing bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct since it was launched in 2019. I pay tribute to all those responsible for this achievement.

As Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, my role includes overseeing investigations and making findings in complaints brought against MPs under this Scheme. I note Alison Stanley’s recommendation that there is a need to simplify some processes and procedures. Although matters falling within my remit were not included within the terms of reference and so are not included in the review, I can confirm that my team have been working on this, with the ICGS team, with the overall aim of ensuring that all investigations under my control remain independent, impartial, thorough and fair.

I hope that the House will soon be invited to approve a new range of sanctions, which will result in a broader range of responses to misconduct by MPs.

Finally, I regret that the arrangements agreed by the House do not provide for me to publish information about the outcome of individual ICGS complaints which I have considered. I welcome Alison Stanley’s support for possible arrangements which would allow me to publish information about complaints upheld, and about how those complaints were resolved, and the sanctions applied. This would have a positive impact on confidence in the Scheme."

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