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Commissioner's response to Alison Stanley’s review

Kathryn Stone OBE, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, responds to the publication of Alison Stanley's 18-month review of the ICGS.

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.

Kathryn Stone OBE

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards


Notes for Editors

1. The current framework for Parliamentary Standards dates from 1995, when the first Commissioner was appointed. Kathryn Stone OBE is the sixth Commissioner. She was appointed for five years with effect from 1 January 2018. The appointment is not renewable.

2. The Commissioner's main duties are:

  • to maintain the Register of Members' Financial Interests and the other registers of interests for Members' staff, journalists and All-Party Groups;
  • to provide advice confidentially on matters relating to the registration and declaration of interests;
  • to advise the Committee on Standards on the interpretation of the Code of Conduct;
  • to monitor the operation of the Code of Conduct and registers and to make recommendations to the Committee thereon;
  • to investigate, if she thinks fit, specific matters which have come to her attention relating to the conduct of Members and to report on them to the Committee on Standards.
  • to consider cases arising under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.
  • the Commissioner's remit was extended on 19 July 2018 to allow her to oversee investigations and make findings in cases against MPs under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).

Details of the ICGS scheme can be found here.

The Commissioner's remit does not extend to the House of Lords. Information about the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards can be found here.

Complaints about the misuse of the scheme for parliamentary expenses since May 2010 are a matter for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Information about their Compliance Officer is here.

3. The Commissioner's Annual Report can be read here.

Memoranda on individual cases investigated by the Commissioner during the year were published as appendices to Reports of the Committee on Standards.

Details of cases concluded via the rectification process since 2008 can be found here.

Details of cases not upheld, where no memorandum was sent to the Committee since 2008,  can be found here.

Statistics on complaints can be found here.

Description of the process for investigating complaints can be found here.

The latest edition of the Register of Members' Financial Interests can be found here.

4. The Commissioner's office is available for media enquiries on 020 7219 0191.