The ICGS review shows that we have made progress, and we will continue to build trust
Peter Cripps/Alamy Stock Photo
We are listening and acting on how to improve Parliament's Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme
The independent 18-month review of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) by Alison Stanley is published today, providing an account of what has been achieved and what remains to be done. I want to thank Alison for her extensive consultation and also users of the bicameral ICGS scheme who directly contributed to the review. There were no fewer than 706 responses to the survey, with more than 100 meetings and 50 confidential contributions from those who used the scheme. It was important to me that the voice of the Parliamentary community was heard in this review and I believe it has been.
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.
Awareness of the ICGS is high - 89% of people who responded to Alison’s survey knew they could report bullying and harassment or sexual misconduct to the ICGS Helpline, which is encouraging. However, I note that there is less uptake in services provided by the ICGS by Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic colleagues and those working in non-desk based positions. I will be asking the team to look into why this is so and to take steps to increase this uptake.
The review recognises that investigations were subject to extensive delays in the early days, but the ICGS team have taken steps, and will take further steps, to reduce the time taken. While it is heartening to see that recent improvements such as an expanded ICGS team and new investigation service provider have reduced timescales, I will be monitoring this to ensure that this continues.
I am pleased at the increase in the number of ICGS survey users saying they would be confident using the scheme and believe it is fair and independent. But I am concerned by the findings on accessibility for those with disabilities. We will make it a priority to build trust and confidence in the process and put mechanisms in place for all who work here.
I want colleagues to know we are listening and acting. Alison Stanley’s comprehensive recommendations will be considered with the utmost seriousness. Bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct have no place in Parliament.
John Benger is Clerk of the House of Commons