Sturgeon’s “Get Salmond” team of civil servants ignored professional guidance and botched their mission to destroy Alex Salmond and Scottish taxpayers paid the price forking out £ millions

12 December 2017: Sturgeon’s “Get Salmond” team of civil servants was provided with guidance documentation from the UK Cabinet Secretary’s office so that they would be assured their new procedure for investigating retrospective allegations of harassment against former Ministers would incorporate best practice and be legally sound. They ignored all of it believing they knew better. The consequences of their actions nearly destroyed the career of Scotland’s finest politician.

This information was gleaned from Evans statement to the Holyrood Inquiry on 18 August 2020

Evans said she had been commissioned to review harassment procedures by Scottish ministers, as well as the UK Government Cabinet Secretary and Head of the UK Civil Service. Having considered the relevant policies she concluded that there was no published process for handling complaints about current or former Ministers in the UK Government and she decided that her civil servants would develop a complaints procedure covering former and current Ministers. The process of developing the procedure would be guided by professional drafting processes informed by legal advice and HR best practice.This would ensure the Scottish Government would be ahead of many other institutions in the design and implementation of a novel new procedure which would openly and transparently address historical allegations of sexual misconduct.

Comment: The Scottish Government emphasised to the Holyrood Inquiry the significance of professional guidance produced by the UK Government Civil Service Employee Policy team (CSEP), a high-powered unit located in the UK Cabinet Office whose specific job it is to provide authoritative HR advice to the whole of the UK civil service.

Civil service officials tasked with the duty of compiling the novel new procedures received a draft copy of “Guidance on Handling of Historic Allegations of Harassment” developed by the UK Government Civil Service Policy team (CSEP) on 17 November 2017 and a later copy with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) added on 12 December 2017, before the new procedure had been fully developed.

The advice contained in the guidance documentation was comprehensive in its coverage and stressed that the management of: “complex and sensitive cases of historical allegations, in every case, should be handled by an impartial investigator who had no prior knowledge of the complainer or any details of the case.”

It also stated that an investigator should be formally trained and experienced in the handling of complaints and cases involving very senior managers should be referred to an independent external body for investigation.

The “FAQ” supplement was provided to Richards as an email attachment on 12 December 2017 and sent on by her to Mackinnon and others that same day under subject heading “Guidance on handling allegation of harassment FAQ”.

That they read the document thoroughly is witnessed by the significance it is given in the Scottish Government’s statement to the inquiry.

So in the context of the procedure for handling harassment complaints which Evans, Richards and Mackinnon were at the very heart of developing at exactly the time the guidance was received it is simply inconceivable that they did not read and understand the most important sentence in FAQ, Answer 23: “no prior knowledge of the complainer or any details of the case”.

That Evans, MacKinnon and Richards ignored the (CSEP) advice cost the Scottish taxpayer £500,000. Evans should have been sacked for gross incompetence and her colleagues should have been demoted and given a first and final written warning.


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