MPs Staff Complaints (2020)
Could you please tell me how many complaints and unfair dismissal claims have been lodged against each MP by staff since the 2015 General Election?
In the first instance, we assume you are aware that Members of Parliament are not employed by the House of Commons, but are each responsible for running their own offices and employing their own staff. Therefore, we have interpreted your request to refer to total numbers of complaints and claims of unfair dismissal against each Members by the staff they employ, since the 2015 General Election. If this is not the case, please let us know.
Members' staff may make complaints and claims in a number of ways, as follows:
• Directly to the Member concerned
• Croner HR Advice to Members' Staff;
• The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (PCS);
• The Police
In addition, the House of Commons' Members' HR Advice Service supports Members in their role as employers. They may provide advice to Members who request it on a range of employment issues.
Information held by Members
This information is not held by the House of Commons. The House does not require Members to report complaints from their own staff and we have no business need to record or otherwise hold a definitive list of complaints or claims against each Member.
You may wish to consider contacting Members themselves to ask for the information you seek, contact details are available on our parliamentary pages. However, Members of Parliament are not public authorities for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). This means that they are not obliged to respond to requests made under the Act.
Under the Croner-provided HR advice service to Member's staff
This information is not held by the House of Commons.
From October 2018, Croner have provided a confidential HR advice to Members' staff. Whilst Croner does provide the House with high-level statistics on the number of calls received by the service,
information on whether any calls concern complaints, allegations of unfair dismissal or names of individuals against whom any complaints are made is not provided to the House.
Complaints to the PCS
The PCS investigates allegations that Members have breached the Code of Conduct. These can be made by any individual, however, the Commissioner's remit is very narrow and she does not specifically investigate complaints of misconduct unless there is evidence that the Code has been breached. Once an investigation has been concluded, some information is published on the parliamentary website.
Information relating to complaints which have already been published is exempt from disclosure in accordance with section 21(1) and (2)(a) FOIA, which removes a public authority from the obligation to provide access to information which is already in the public domain. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.
Information relating to any ongoing investigation related to your request is exempt in accordance with section 34 (1) FOIA. In order to avoid an infringement of the privileges of the House of Commons, the duty to confirm or deny whether the House of Commons holds such information does not apply to your request. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.
All complaints of alleged criminal behaviour are made or referred to the police and so this information is not held by the House of Commons. You may wish to forward your request to the Metropolitan Police Service or other police force, details of which can be found online.
The Members' HR service
The breakdown of the information requested is not held by the House of Commons.
It may help you to know that if a Member chooses to seek advice from this service (which can be for a whole range of employment issues and not just complaints) only basic information is recorded. The service logs Members' contacts, recording a general heading to identify the call, but not whether the call concerned a complaint or any further specifics such as an unfair dismissal claim.