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Learning lessons on harassment complaints

Published: 23 Mar 2021 13:30
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Public sector

Scottish Government comments on Committee report.

Lessons will be learned from the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints, following the publication of the parliamentary inquiry’s report today.

Responding to the findings of the Committee on the Scottish Government’s Handling of Harassment Complaints (SGHHC), Deputy First Minister John Swinney said it was clear that the women who had raised complaints had been let down.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“I welcome the report of the Committee, which, alongside the independent report produced by James Hamilton and externally led review by Laura Dunlop QC, will assist the Scottish Government’s in learning lessons for the future.

“I also welcome the Committee’s acknowledgement that the Scottish Government was motivated by doing the right thing – creating a culture and procedure for investigating any claims of harassment. I agree with the Committee’s finding that James Hamilton’s report is the most appropriate place to address the question of whether or not the First Minister breached the Ministerial Code. He found there was no breach.

“The Scottish Government has acknowledged that it made mistakes and that these led to the Judicial Review being conceded, and I know that this had a real, and damaging, impact for the women who raised the complaints. We have apologised for this and we do so unreservedly again today.

“I remain absolutely determined that the Scottish Government should ensure this does not happen again and that together we create a culture where these behaviours do not arise.

“Given the timing of the report it is not possible to respond fully and in detail, not least because the three reports have overlapping areas of interest, and some recommendations are in conflict with those in other reports.

“Together, all three reports highlight a range of important issues and provide the basis for improvement work which now be taken forward in consultation with others including the Parliament, Trades Unions, and those with lived experience.

“The Scottish Government will carefully consider the recommendations from the Committee, alongside the other two review reports, in order to put improvements and an implementation plan in place.”

Background

Report of the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints | Scottish Parliament