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Staff complaints (2021)

Request 

1) Sexual misconduct cases [for each year that Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievances Scheme has been in operation, including the current incomplete year]:
a) calls to the ICGS helpline giving sexual misconduct as the reason;
b) sexual misconduct complaints formally lodged under the scheme;
c) the number of these that proceeded to a full assessment;
d) the number that have been concluded;
e) the number that were dropped before being concluded;
f) the number that are outstanding;
g) the number that found in favour of the complainant on at least one count.

2) Bullying and harassment cases [for each year that Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievances Scheme has been in operation, including the current incomplete year]:
a) calls to the ICGS helpline;
b) bullying and harassment complaints formally lodged under the scheme (NOT including those that went down the ‘sexual misconduct’ route);
c) the number of these that proceeded to a full assessment;
d) the number that have been concluded;
e) the number that were dropped before being concluded;
f) the number that are outstanding;
g) the number that found in favour of the complainant on at least one count.

3) Timings [relating to all complaints of sexual misconduct that went to a full assessment and were concluded as part of Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievances Scheme]:
a) What was the median average time to complete each case, from the date of the complaint to the date of the report being sent to the complainant?
b) What was the longest time a case took, from the date of the complaint to the date of the report being sent to the complainant?
c) What was the shortest time a case took, from the date of the complaint to the date of the report being sent to the complainant?

 

Response

In the first instance please note that while the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme is a bicameral team of the House of Commons and the House of Lords and provides a route by which to make a complaint about the behaviour of any person part of the parliamentary community, the information below, unless otherwise noted, only covers the House of Commons. That is, it includes complaints where the respondent is Member of Parliament, their staff and staff of the House of Commons Administration. For information about complaints relating to Peers, their staff or staff of the House of Lords Administration, you may wish to forward your request to the House of Lords.

1) Sexual misconduct cases [for each year that Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievances Scheme has been in operation, including the current incomplete year]:
a) calls to the ICGS helpline giving sexual misconduct as the reason;
b) sexual misconduct complaints formally lodged under the scheme;
c) the number of these that proceeded to a full assessment;
d) the number that have been concluded;
e) the number that were dropped before being concluded;
f) the number that are outstanding;
g) the number that found in favour of the complainant on at least one count.
and
2) Bullying and harassment cases [for each year that Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievances Scheme has been in operation, including the current incomplete year]:
a) calls to the ICGS helpline;
b) bullying and harassment complaints formally lodged under the scheme (NOT including those that went down the ‘sexual misconduct’ route);
c) the number of these that proceeded to a full assessment;
d) the number that have been concluded;
e) the number that were dropped before being concluded;
f) the number that are outstanding;
g) the number that found in favour of the complainant on at least one count.

Some information is held by the House of Commons in relation to these parts of your request.

Please note that, since the ICGS was established on 19 July 2018, each year in the table below runs from 19 July of one year to 18 July of the following year, unless otherwise stated. The information for the 2020/21 year is correct as at 11 June 2021.

We hold information about calls made to the ICGS helplines and it is laid out in Table 1.
Between July 2018 and July 2020, there were two helplines for advice on each of Bullying & Harassment (B&H) and Sexual Misconduct (SM) and this information is held separately. From July 2020, a new provider integrated both services into one helpline. Therefore, information about calls after this point cannot be disaggregated.

This information covers all calls to the helplines and is not limited to the House of Commons, as calls can be made to the helplines by anyone.

We also hold information about complaints made to the ICGS in relation to your subsequent questions Table 2.

Each of the columns in the table are the closest corresponding measure we have to the questions you have asked:
• When a complaint is made to the ICGS, it is known as a ‘disclosure’
• Disclosures are assessed, and those taken on by the ICGS each become an investigation. Disclosures can contain multiple respondents from one complainant, which sometimes result in a higher number of assessments than disclosures.
• Investigations which are completed are known as having been ‘closed’
• Complaints are only ‘dropped’ if they are withdrawn by the complainant
• Where the independent investigator contracted by the ICGS finds that the respondents behaviour has breached the relevant policy, the complaint is known as being ‘upheld’

We hold the information about complaints made under each of the two policies, but we have chosen to provide them combined in this response. This is because of the ‘mosaic effect’, where information across several responses can be combined or compared to uncover information that would normally be withheld. In this case, we are seeking to protect information where a very low number of individuals are involved (lower than 5), which may make it possible for individuals to be identified (and this would therefore constitute their personal data). If we disclosed all of the figures above for B&H and SM separately, a requester could request the same figures later on, but for both policies combined. If these two responses were made and then combined or compared, the requester could use subtraction to discover some figures which are lower than 5. Faced with this issue, we have concluded that the most helpful approach, while protecting the personal data of complainants, is to disclose figures for both policies combined.

On this basis, some figures in the table above have been redacted. In most cases, this is because the number itself is very low (lower than 5). In other cases, as referred to above, the number might be higher than 5, but disclosing it would allow the precise value of other figures below 5 to be calculated. In both cases, this information is therefore exempt by virtue of section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), as disclosure of this information to the public generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with data protection principles in Article 5 of the UK General Data Protection Regulation. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.

3) Timings [relating to all complaints of sexual misconduct that went to a full assessment and were concluded as part of Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievances Scheme]:
a) What was the median average time to complete each case, from the date of the complaint to the date of the report being sent to the complainant?

This information is not held by the House of Commons. This is because the ICGS does not calculate the median average time to complete cases.

b) What was the longest time a case took, from the date of the complaint to the date of the report being sent to the complainant?

This information is held by the House of Commons. The longest time between the date of a complaint to the report being sent to the complainant for any given case is 488 days.

c) What was the shortest time a case took, from the date of the complaint to the date of the report being sent to the complainant?

This information is held by the House of Commons. The shortest time between the date of a complaint to the report being sent to the complainant for any given case is 48 days.