How long do we take to investigate complaints?
Once you have submitted a complaint, how long will it take us to complete an investigation? You can find out more information about how long it is currently taking our office to complete each stage of the complaint handling process across all types of complaints below.
You can find out more about the complaint handling process here.
How long does it take to investigate a complaint?
Due to the volume of complaints we receive and a shortage of staff over the last year, we are currently working through a backlog of complaints.
The Ethical Standards Commissioner’s office is very conscious that an efficient and timely complaint handling process is critical to building trust and confidence in the ethical standards framework. We are therefore doing everything we can to address this backlog. We have completed a thorough workforce planning exercise and recruited and trained additional staff for the investigations team to clear the backlog and ensure that all complaints in future are dealt with as quickly as practicable.
Select the complaint type below and find out more information about the average time it has taken to complete each stage of the complaint handling process for this type of complaint over the second quarter (Q2) of this financial year (July - September 2023).
Councillor and board members of public bodies Toggle accordion
For complaints completed in Q2 of this financial year, it has taken us an average of four and a half months to complete our Stage 1 assessment or screening process and five and a half months to complete our Stage 2 investigation.
MSPs Toggle accordion
For complaints completed in Q2 of this financial year, it has taken us an average of one month to complete our Stage 1 investigation.
No MSP complaints reached our Stage 2 investigation in Q2 of this financial year. However, for MSP complaints completed in the previous financial year (April 2022 – March 2023), it took us an average of six months to complete our Stage 2 investigation.
Across all complaints, the average timescale for completing Stage 1 was calculated from the date on which a complaint was received to the date on which a decision for Stage 1 was reached. The average timescale for completing Stage 2 was calculated from the date on which Stage 2 started to the date on which a decision for that stage was reached. You can find out more about the different stages of our complaint handling process here.
These figures are from Q2 of this financial year (July - September 2023). These figures will be updated to reflect those from the third quarter of this financial year (October – December 2023) in March 2024. More information on our backlog of complaints will follow in due course.
How many complaints are in the queue for assessment?
In the table below, you can see how many complaints from the last five months are in a queue for assessment by a member of the investigatory team. As of February 2024, there are 46 new complaints awaiting allocation to the next available team member.
Number of complaints in the queue
Please note that we triage complaints when they are first submitted to our office. Not all complaints, therefore, are allocated to a member of the investigatory team in the order of when we receive them. You can find out more about our triaging system in our Investigations Manual.
Ready to make a complaint?
You can make your complaint online or in other ways. Follow the link to begin.