POLITICS: Investigators appointed to handle complaints in aftermath of Salmond case

A lengthy inquiry at a Holyrood committee was prompted after the Government’s investigation was challenged

By Bill Heaney

The Scottish Government has appointed a group of external investigators to handle complaints about current and former ministers, following the mishandling of its investigation into claims of sexual harassment by Alex Salmond.

The Government’s investigation into the former first minister was successfully challenged in the courts, which prompted a lengthy inquiry at a Holyrood committee.

Following a review of the Government’s complaints procedure, new rules around formal complaints of bullying, harassment and discrimination made by civil servants were introduced in February.

The Government has written to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee, updating MSPs on the new system’s progress.

Its letter said: “Since the last update to the committee in January 2022, we have completed briefings to ministers on the updated procedure for handling complaints about current or former ministers.

“We have communicated the updated procedure coming into operation through internal staff channels.”

The pool of external investigators and decision-makers has been given an operational protocol, though this was said to be “subject to further refinements in April”.

The Government also says it will commission a review of its propriety and ethics processes later this year.

In February, the Government published a draft of a new grievance policy for staff which was due to come into operation on April 21.

In a letter to the committee dated February 24, Swinney said: “I can also confirm the names of the pool of external decision-makers and investigators after the open recruitment process via the Scottish Government’s public appointments portal.

“Six investigators and five decision-makers have been appointed from a high calibre pool of applicants.”

Among the pool of independent decision-makers is former Scottish Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion.

Top of page picture: Alex Salmond and his advisers hauled into court with no case to answer.

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