Publication - Progress report

Culture and behaviours in the Scottish Government: progress report

Published: 13 Jan 2022
Part of:
Public sector

Implementation plan progress 2021 and the continuous improvement programme.

Culture and behaviours in the Scottish Government: progress report
Implementation progress

Implementation plan progress                                                                               

This implementation plan is in the annex of the Scottish Government’s response to the reports related to the harassment reviews and inquiries, published in June 2021, and sets out the high-level actions and outcomes that the Scottish Government will take forward.

Activity

Achieved by

December 2021 progress update

Continuing work with recognised trade unions to ensure issues can be raised and responded to appropriately in the interim

 

Immediate and ongoing

 

 

Completed: December 2021

Existing channels of engagement were in place for engagement with the Scottish Government and our recognised trade unions to discuss case work. An additional forum was established where People Directorate met with Trade Unions regularly to discuss progress on grievance policy, procedure and practice, and consult/ negotiate on changes. This ensured clear channels for raising and responding to issues in the interim. Additional improvement work with trade unions was carried out in this period to consider ways of working and experience of formal grievance handling.

An updated Ministerial induction programme has been designed to support the incoming administration. One of the key aims of the programme is to support Ministers to work effectively with the civil service in a culture of mutual support and respect.

May – September 2021

 

Completed: October 2021

The Ministerial Induction programme was designed to be delivered after Government formation. The programme comprised of an induction pack and introductory meetings with senior officials. A series of briefing sessions were offered to Ministers, including a session covering complaints, bullying and harassment, and included inputs from Ministers, senior officials and trade unions.

Partnership working with recognised trade unions on taking forward the implementation plan

 

May – December 2021

 

 

Completed: December 2021

Channels already in place for trade union engagement continued in this period included a partnership working committee and a strategic forum with national union representatives. An additional forum was established where the Scottish Government met with trade unions regularly to discuss progress on grievance policy, procedure and practice and consult / negotiate changes, as discussed above.

The trade unions have commented at each milestone in delivering the updated procedure. The Scottish Government continues to work with the recognised trade unions on a refresh of wider grievance policy, procedure and practice, in line with the Partnership Agreement.

Develop an updated procedure and guidance material for handling formal complaints about Ministers which will include consideration of:

  • a single process for both bullying and harassment
  • introduction of external, independent investigation and adjudication
  • separation of roles
  • benchmarking
  • time limits
  • initial assessment
  • criminality and police involvement
  • support for all parties including Ministers
  • further consideration to referencing alternative resolution options (including informal routes and mediation)
  • censure with consent

May – December 2021

 

Completed: February 2022

As set out in the letter to the Finance and Public Administration Committee and the Presiding Officer, we are presenting the procedure with a short period of time before it is enacted. This will offer a short phase of further engagement with trade unions and with Parliament before the procedure comes into operation early in 2022.

The contents of the updated Procedure is set out in the current draft, guidance will be provided when the procedure comes into operation.

External advisory group for the oversight of the implementation plan

 

June 2021 – June 2022

 

 

Completed:  Set up in June 2021, ongoing

The Reviews Implementation Assurance Group (RIAG) provides external perspectives, support and challenge on the delivery of the implementation plan.  RIAG is made up of senior leaders from the UK Government and the devolved administrations, senior public sector leaders, and trade union representatives. The Group meets monthly and is chaired by DG Corporate.

A staff engagement plan on an updated procedure

July – October 2021

 

 

Completed:  First phase completed by December 2021, then ongoing

Staff engagement consisted of internal communications to Scottish Government staff; seeking the views of staff with lived experience as part of embedding lessons learned in the updated procedure and regular trade union working group meetings.

More staff communications are planned to announce the progress with the procedure in December. Following on from this, staff engagement activity planned for the refresh of the grievance policy and practice.

 

Bring together key Propriety and Ethics functions into DG: Corporate

July – September 2021

 

Completed:  September 2021

The role of Propriety and Ethics is to provide corporate oversight of and co-ordination on sensitive issues.  It is the point of contact for propriety and ethics issues within the organisation and its public bodies.  Propriety & Ethics is established and is the point of contact with a pool of external investigators and adjudicators to be called upon in the event of a complaint being brought under the updated procedure.

The team will provide specialist and dedicated support to other parts of Scottish Government in handling complex and/or cross cutting cases of alleged breaches of propriety and ethics. It will handle the continuous improvement programme in relation to promoting positive standards of behaviour, seeking to prevent unacceptable behaviours, and creating a safe and supportive environment to speak up.

 

Set out the specific actions we will take to implement our information management review and improve the quality of our digital storage and retrieval processes

May 2021 – December 2021

 

 

 

Completed:   Two year programme of work, progress on track in December 2021

There are actions being taken to address all eight of the key recommendations from the Corporate Review of Information Management Report, which is a two year programme of work.

  • a new Information Management Governance Structure is established.
  • a communications and stakeholder engagement plan and forward look for six month intervals.
  • staff engagement is via topic specific presentations and new training modules. There has been increased engagement across all SG and with DG Senior Management Teams via these presentations.
  • a best practice Information Management section has been added to the existing induction document for new starts to the Scottish Government.
  • the Information Management Strategy launched in August and is published on gov.scot
  • Knowledge and Information Shared Services will work closely with the new COVID Oversight divisions in preparation for the COVID Inquiry. 
  • we are implementing an Information Governance benchmark Maturity Assessment to measure confidence in the application of current policies and procedures.
  • a data cleanse of legacy data repositories work has begun in order to improve the search capability of documents in Scottish Government stores

 

Alignment to wider culture and behaviour initiatives, including organisational vision and values, with engagement with staff to:

  • Build consensus on values;
  • Encourage staff to speak up;
  • Pay attention to local cultures, early intervention and local support.

May – December 2021

 

 

Completed:  December 2021

The Scottish Government’s first mission, vision, and values setting out our expectations of how we will work and develop as an organisation was launched on 21st June. Accompanying this launch were the provision of virtual briefings for senior staff and a series of documents detailing the mission, vision and values. The staff response to the launch has been positive towards the content of the vision and values.  Events were held to communicate the mission, vision, and values, and provide case studies to illustrate the future direction, with colleagues invited to contribute their views and experiences. The sessions included Ministers and external stakeholders as well as colleagues from across the organisation.

Senior leaders will be tasked with capturing how they are making local improvements towards the new values to accompany these organisation-wide changes.

Development and Implementation of Governance structures including reviewing risk management procedures

July – December 2021

 

Completed:   Actions until December 2021 on a two year programme of work

There are actions being taken to address all eight of the key recommendations from the Corporate review of Information Management Report - a two year programme of work:

  • work is progressing on the setting up of new governance structures (which includes the new governance boards mentioned above).  There will also be new information management roles at Directorate General, Directorate and Divisional level.
  • work is underway with Governance and Risk colleagues to strengthen the information management section as part of the Certificates of Assurance process.
  • revised guidance on minute taking is being prepared, emphasising the message in the Civil Service Code for civil servants to ‘…keep accurate official records and handle information as openly as possible within the legal framework…’.

Update to the Scottish Parliament on progress

 

Before the end of 2021

 

 

Completed:  December 2021

The Deputy First Minister has written to the Finance and Public Administration Committee presenting the Procedure with a short period of time before it is enacted. This will offer a short phase of further engagement with trade unions and with Parliament before the procedure comes into operation early in 2022.

The documents sent to the Finance and Public Administration Committee includes a copy of this implementation plan.

Launch of updated policy for handling formal complaints about Ministers

Before the end of 2021

 

Completed:  Updated provided in December, policy launch expected in early 2022 after a short period of consultation

As set out in the letter to the Finance and Public Administration Committee and the Presiding Officer, we are presenting the procedure with a short period of time before it is enacted. This will offer a short phase of further engagement with trade unions and with Parliament before the procedure comes into operation early in 2022.