Important date of 28 April 2022, for non-recent cases of bullying and harassment 


It has been a year since Alison Stanley wrote her 18 month independent review of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), and 28 of her 33 recommendations have now been implemented. This is in large part due to the hard work of the ICGS team. We have created the new ICGS Hub, we are recruiting more investigators, and we have made the complaints process more streamlined and accessible.  

An important recommendation implemented in April 2021 was the agreed time limit for non-recent cases of bullying and harassment. Up until 28 April 2022, there will be no time limit on lodging non-recent cases (this has applied since non-recent cases were eligible under the scheme in October 2019). This has ensured that long-standing complaints that had not previously been addressed, such as the case of John Bercow, could be investigated.  

However, as agreed in both Houses, from 28 April 2022, there will be a time limit of one year from when the bullying and harassment incident (or the latest of those incidents) happened. This is to ensure investigations are conducted in a timely manner, and that evidence can be collected efficiently. After the ICGS opened to non-recent complaints, colleagues did come forward to have their non-recent complaints addressed through the ICGS. Almost three years later, this has naturally tapered off. In the past six months, all complaints were about recent experiences. 

It is extremely important that, if you want to make a complaint concerning bullying and harassment that happened more than one year ago, you should phone the helpline before 28 April 2022.  

For anyone experiencing sexual misconduct, it can take a long time to come to process that behaviour, and so there will continue to be no time limit placed on complaints of sexual misconduct.  

These changes do not apply in respect of complaints about the behaviour of members of the House of Lords or their staff. These complaints are dealt with under the Lords Code of Conduct, which states that complaints must usually be made within six years of the conduct complained of. 

You can call the independent ICGS helpline anonymously and as many times as you need, to ask for advice and information. You can also make a formal complaint about behaviour that you have experienced. Your calls will be treated confidentially and empathetically. For more information please visit the ICGS hub. Former members of the parliamentary community can visit the UK Parliament website for further information.  

The helpline is there for all of us. Please use it. 

Jo Willows, 

ICGS Director 

Independent Expert Panel first annual report


03 March 2022

The Independent Expert Panel (IEP) has published its first annual report

The IEP decides appeals and determines sanctions in complaints against MPs of bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS). It decided six cases last year, upholding complaints against two current and three former MPs. Three were for sexual misconduct and two for bullying.

The IEP is independent of MPs and the House Service and is chaired by retired Appeal Court Judge, Sir Stephen Irwin. The eight panel members are drawn from a diverse range of professional and personal backgrounds. You can find out more about the Panel and read their reports on their website.

Introducing the annual report, the IEP’s Chair Sir Stephen Irwin said:

“We were created to ensure that complaints about bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct by MPs are decided completely independently, and in a fair and rigorous manner that rebuilds the confidence of the Parliamentary community and the public.

Through our public reports we have demonstrated that MPs who bully, harass, or commit sexual misconduct against, their staff, House staff, other MPs or anyone else in the Parliamentary community can be held to account. 

We are only the most visible part of the ICGS process. We rely on the work of the ICGS team, the independent investigators, and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. They ensure that investigations are rigorous, fair to all, and that those involved are supported through the process.

It is of cardinal importance that complainants feel able to come forward. We pay tribute to them, and the House owes them a debt.”

The annual report is available on the Parliament website.

If you have any questions about the work of the IEP please email the Secretary to the Panel Ian Bradshaw (   

Who can I talk to for support?

If you have experienced an incident that is not in line with our Behaviour Code we encourage you to reach out to the people and services available to you for advice, support and help. You can find how to access support, and how to make a complaint on the ICGS website.  

Creating a safe workplace for Members’ staff – guidance on bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct


All MP Staff Q&A Session – Creating a safe workplace for Members’ staff – guidance on bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct

10:00 – 10:45 – Thursday 10 June 2021

Open to all of the staff of MPs.  For further information and booking, please see


ICGS Annual Review 2020


Please note that links to the old Parliamentary intranet have been removed as of October 2023. Please use search on ParliNet to find relevant current details, if available.

The Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) represents a commitment from both Houses to create a modern workplace where colleagues can work without fear of bullying, harassment or sexual harassment.  Our second Annual Report outlines the operation of the ICGS from July 2019 – June 2020, key developments for the Scheme, data on use of the helplines, complaint investigations and Valuing Everyone training.

This reporting year (July 2019 – June 2020), 293 individuals contacted the ICGS. They made contact a total of 621 times, receiving information and support in a safe, confidential place and signposting to different available options.

This year has been a year of significant change. Our annual report highlights the improvements we have made to the scheme and the resilience of many people, including my colleagues in the ICGS team, to ensure that these improvements have taken place, despite challenging circumstances, including working within the constraints of the coronavirus pandemic. The ICGS is a complex scheme, bringing together many colleagues with different employment relationships. There is more work to be done, and I am looking forward to the recommendations from the independent expert Alison Stanley CBE, who recently started work on the 18-month review of the scheme. Please use the ICGS if you need a confidential, safe space to talk about your experience of bullying, harassment or sexual harassment.

To find out more, read our overview, or visit the intranet.

If you are experiencing bullying, harassment or sexual harassment, you can contact the ICGS Helpline by Telephone 0808 168 9281 or email between 9am–6pm Monday to Friday.

Important – ICGS 18 month review survey


Please note that links to the old Parliamentary intranet have been removed as of October 2023. Please use search on ParliNet to find relevant current details, if available.

Please see below the message from the Independent Reviewer of the UK Parliament Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.  You can read more about the scheme here:

The independent 18-month review of UK Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) is examining the operation of the Scheme to date, specifically the bullying and harassment and sexual misconduct policies and procedures. The full terms of reference are available on the intranet. This survey is a chance for anyone in the Parliamentary community to provide feedback as part of the 18-month review. It should take no longer than 5-10 minutes to complete.

Dear Colleagues,

The 18 month review of the ICGS is well underway and I am keen to ensure I am giving as many people as possible the opportunity to give their views about the Scheme. As part of the review, I would like to invite you to take part in a short survey about your opinions and experiences.

You can complete the ICGS 18 month review survey online. 

The survey should take no more than 5/10 minutes and can be completed on laptops, PCs and mobile phones. Please be assured that all responses are confidential and anonymous and the survey has been reviewed by IRIS (Information Rights and Information Security) and the Lords Information Compliance Team. The anonymised responses will be analysed by an external expert analyst. For more information, please view our frequently asked questions.

Your views will make an important contribution to the review and its recommendations. The deadline for the survey is 4 December.

Alison Stanley CBE FCIPD
Independent Reviewer – 18 Month Review
UK Parliament Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme