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Complaints against MSPs

This privacy statement explains how we collect and use your personal information to progress a complaint against an MSP.

Some of the language used in privacy notices can be specialised.  The Information Commissioner's website provides a useful introduction to key terms and concepts.

Categories of information processed 

Normal category personal data added to the form you submit including your name, email and contact number. 

Special category personal data will be processed because we will collect and store the actual content of the complaint.  Special category personal data includes information about:

  • an individual’s race or ethnic origin
  • political or religious views
  • sex life or sexual orientation
  • trade union membership
  • physical or mental health
  • genetic or biometric data.

Source of the information

The information is provided directly by third parties using the MSP complaint form provided on our website. Complaints about MSPs may also be received by the Scottish Parliament via the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.

The purpose of the processing

The purpose of the processing is to ensure that complaints are delivered to the correct office within the Scottish Parliament and that we can contact you to progress your complaint.

The legal basis of processing

We must have a legal basis for processing personal data (including normal and special category data) in terms of Article 6 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

To process special category data, we also require a separate condition for processing in terms of Article 9 GDPR.

The legal basis for the processing of personal data for the purposes of progressing your complaint against an MSP is that it is necessary for a task carried out in the public interest in terms of Article 6(1)(e) GDPR. For special category data the processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest in terms of Article 9(2)(g) GDPR and s10(3) and paragraph 6, part 2, schedule 1 DPA.

Data sharing

This information is shared with offices within the Scottish Parliament to ensure that complaints about MSPs are progressed by the correct offices.  Information contained in complaints may also be shared with the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland in certain circumstances. 

Retention of data

Personal information contained in complaint documentation will generally be held in accordance with the Scottish Parliament records management policy for a period of 3 to 11 years (1 parliamentary session + 6 years), depending on the nature of the complaint. Contact details held for complaints against MSPs made under the Code of Conduct will be deleted once the complaint has been concluded.

Your rights

Data protection legislation sets out the rights which individuals have in relation to personal data held about them by data controllers. Applicable rights are listed below, although whether you will be able to exercise data subject rights in a particular case may depend on the purpose for which the data controller is processing the data and the legal basis upon which the processing takes place.

For example, the rights allowing for deletion or erasure of personal data (right to be forgotten) and data portability do not apply in cases where personal data is processed for the purposes of the performance of a task carried out in the public interest. The right to object to the processing of personal data for the purposes of a public interest task is restricted if there are legitimate grounds for the processing which override the interest of the data subject. This would be considered on a case-by-case basis and depends on what personal data is involved and the risks further processing of that data would pose to you.

The following rights apply:

Access to your information

You have the right to request a copy of the personal information about you that we hold. For further information, have a look at our page on Making a Subject Access Request.

Correcting your information

We want to make sure that your personal information is accurate, complete and up to date and you may ask us to correct any personal information about you that you believe does not meet these standards.

Objecting to how we may use your information

Where we use your personal information to perform tasks carried out in the public interest then, if you ask us to, we will stop using that personal information unless there are overriding legitimate grounds to continue.

Restricting how we may use your information

In some cases, you may ask us to restrict how we use your personal information. This right might apply, for example, where we are checking the accuracy of personal information about you that we hold or assessing the validity of any objection you have made to our use of your information. The right might also apply where this is no longer a basis for using your personal information, but you don't want us to delete the data. Where this right is validly exercised, we may only use the relevant personal information with your consent, for legal claims or where there are other public interest grounds to do so.

Please contact us in any of the ways set out in the Contact information and further advice section if you wish to exercise any of these rights.

Changes to our privacy statement

We keep this privacy statement under regular review and will place any updates on this website. Paper copies of the privacy statement may also be obtained using the contact information below. This privacy statement was last updated on 24 August 2020 and will be reviewed within 12 months if not updated prior to that. 


We seek to resolve directly all complaints about how we handle personal information but you also have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office online at:

Or by phone at: 0303 123 1113

Contact information and further advice

If you have any further questions about the way in which we process personal data, or about how to exercise your rights, please contact the Head of Information Governance at:
The Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP

Telephone: 0131 348 6913

(Calls are welcome through the Text Relay service or in British Sign Language through contactSCOTLAND-BSL.)

Email: [email protected]

Please contact us if you require information in another language or format

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