Scottish Government response to harassment reviews

Scottish Government response to the reports by Laura Dunlop QC, James Hamilton, Independent Adviser on the Scottish Ministerial Code, and the Scottish Parliament Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints.

Annex: implementation plan

This implementation plan sets out the high-level actions and outcomes that the Scottish Government will take forward.



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


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

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

May – December 2021

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); and
  • Censure with consent.

May – December 2021

External advisory group for the oversight of the implementation plan

June 2021 – June 2022

A staff engagement plan on an updated procedure

July – October 2021

Bring together key Propriety and Ethics functions into DG: Corporate

July – September 2021

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

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; and
  • Pay attention to local cultures, early intervention and local support.

May – December 2021

Development and Implementation of Governance structures including reviewing risk management procedures

July – December 2021

Update to the Scottish Parliament on progress

Before the end of 2021

Launch of updated policy for handling formal complaints about Ministers

Before the end of 2021




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