Friday, June 18, 2021
HomeDunlop report: Complaints against ministers should be investigated independently

Dunlop report: Complaints against ministers should be investigated independently

[ad_1]

A review into the complaints procedure for claims of harassment by current or former ministers has called for allegations to be investigated independently, rather than by the Scottish Government

The report by Laura Dunlop QC was commissioned after the Government’s investigation of sexual harassment allegations against Alex Salmond was found to be unlawful.

Ms Dunlop makes a range of recommendations about how complaints against current and former Government ministers should be handled, including allowing complainers to refuse police involvement and for claims to be investigated by an independent body, rather than Government civil servants.

It is clear that the investigating officer’s involvement with the complainers’ side of the process was considered to have been too close to be considered fair

Referring to the revelation that Judith Mackinnon, the woman tasked with conducting the investigation into Mr Salmond, had previously contacted the complainers before her appointment to the role, Ms Dunlop said anyone investigating a claim must be “free of prior involvement with any aspect of the matter being raised”.

“It is clear that the investigating officer’s involvement with the complainers’ side of the process was considered to have been too close to be considered fair,” Ms Dunlop states.

She added: “My suggestion would be a requirement that anyone involved in factual investigation, and/or preparation of a report, should have had no prior involvement with any aspect of the matter being raised, and should have no close association with either party before or during the investigation.”

On the issue of independently investigating complaints, Ms Dunlop states: “The risks of perception of bias, either in favour of or against the person complained about, are obvious.

“Moreover, there is a specific issue of accountability inherent in any process which involves civil servants in investigating such complaints.”

University of Stirling graduation / PA Media

Her recommendation is that formal complaints against former ministers should be “investigated and adjudicated” independently, and suggests that it could be done either by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland or the Independent Advisers on the Ministerial Code.

The Holyrood inquiry into the government’s botched investigation of the former first minister also heard evidence that the two complainers had not wanted their case passed to the Crown Office and police, but that the Scottish Government decided to do so regardless.

Ms Dunlop notes that the current policy, which remains in place despite Mr Salmond’s successful legal challenge, gives “no indication that person’s wish not to involve the police may in some situations be respected”.

[ad_2]

Source link

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments