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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S5W-18396

  • Asked by: Monica Lennon, MSP for Central Scotland, Scottish Labour
  • Date lodged: 24 August 2018
  • Current status: Answered by Graeme Dey on 20 September 2018


To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide the information that it holds on how many complaints it has received relating to sexual assault or sexual harassment by (a) Ministers, (b) Special Advisers and (c) its staff since 1999; how many complaints have been upheld; how many cases have been referred to the police, and whether anyone has been disciplined or dismissed following these complaints.


As an employer, the Scottish Government does not make determinations about whether the nature of a complaint constitutes a sexual assault as that is rightly a matter for Police Scotland to determine. We do not therefore have a record of any complaints that have been recorded as “sexual assault”.

In response to part (a) between 1999 and the end of 2017 the Scottish Government holds no recorded complaints of this nature against Ministers.

In January 2018, the Scottish Government received two harassment complaints relating to the former First Minister, Alex Salmond. These complaints were considered under a Scottish Government procedure for Handling Harassment Complaints Involving Current or Former Ministers . For legal reasons the Scottish Government cannot provide further information.

In response to part (b) a system to report aggregated data about formal employee relations cases and complaints was introduced in 2007. The Scottish Government has no recorded complaints in relation to Special Advisers in the period from 2007 to the present.

In response to part (c) a system to report aggregated data about complaints recorded against employees was introduced in 2007. Since 2007, a total of 11 formal complaints of this nature have been received by the Scottish Government. Given the statistically low number, the supplementary information requested cannot be provided as this may risk disclosing personal information. However we can confirm that these cases were dealt with in line with the relevant internal procedures.


This covers staff employed on Scottish Government Main and Scottish Government Marine terms and conditions of employment and senior civil servants in the following areas:

  • Scottish Government Core Directorates
  • Accountancy in Bankruptcy
  • Disclosure Scotland
  • Education Scotland
  • National Records of Scotland
  • Office of Scottish Charity Regulator
  • Scottish Housing Regulator
  • Transport Scotland