Public purse “exposed” by failure to clarify harassment policy details

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has today criticised the Scottish Government’s “frankly astonishing” failure to resolve conflicting interpretations around paragraph 10 of the Complaints Handling Procedure, which led to the Government conceding the judicial review led by Alex Salmond at a cost of over half a million pounds to the public purse.  

This comes after Judith Mackinnon confirmed to Holyrood’s Committee on the Handling of Harassment Complaints that guidance has still not been put to strengthen Paragraph 10 of the procedure nearly 2 years after the government case collapsed.

Mr Cole-Hamilton sought clarification that the policy was accompanied by sufficient guidance to ensure that a similar “difference of interpretation” would never happen again. Ms Mackinnon said that was “not yet” the case.  

Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:

“Confirmation that the government is still operating with the same flawed policy is frankly astonishing. 

“It’s blindingly obvious that this should have been sorted out a long time ago. The public purse has been left knowingly exposed.  

“The public has already lost over £500,000 on a legal challenge over a mismanaged inquiry and now we find that policy is still in operation and is risking future public funds. 

“The government appears to have failed to learn basic lessons from this half million pound mistake.” 

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