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Alex Salmond’s search hears allegation of ‘harassment’ behavior



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Alex Salmond “may exhibit harassment or intimidation,” said the former civil servant senior civil servant.

Sir Peter Housden said issues with the miners’ behavior “spotted” his time as permanent secretary.

However, he declined to confirm whether he had spoken to Nicola Sturgeon, then Mr Salmond’s deputy, about it.

Sir Peter said he had never witnessed any harassment and that there had been “no suggestion of sexual misconduct”.

He was permanent secretary between 2010 and 2015 and said no formal complaints were made against the ministers during this period, with issues usually dealt with “informally”.

MSPs are conducting an investigation into the handling of harassment complaints against the Scottish Government against Mr. Salmond.

The government had to pay the former first minister more than 500,000 in legal costs after acknowledging that its investigation was illegal and “tainted with apparent prejudice”.

Part of the investigation is looking at how the government’s grievance process was designed, with Sir Peter Leslie Evans’ successor insisting was not designed “to take” Mr. Salmond.

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Sir Peter Housden said he would try to find ways to “smooth things over”

Civil service unions said earlier that 30 employees had come to them with concerns – though not formal complaints – about the conduct of harassment within the Scottish government, across a number of administrations.

Sir Peter said that while “no formal complaint was lodged against any elected politician” while in office, he “knew the former former minister [Mr Salmond] may exhibit harassing or intimidating behavior. “

He said that “for most of the time the office functioned really well, with great energy and motivation from both parties”.

But he said life was “marked by these kinds of behaviors that were a problem”.

‘Important trip’

Sir Peter said that when he was in office there was a “presumption” that matters would be dealt with informally when a formal complaint had not been made and there was no evidence of “savage behavior”.

He said he would look for ways to “improve” issues and “smooth things together”.

But while he said it would be “appropriate to speak with a senior member of the administration” about the concerns, the “duty of confidentiality” prevented him from confirming or denying whether he had ever raised anything with Ms. Sturgeon.

Sir Peter said civil servants had “the right to expect ministers to be able to control their conduct”.

He said: “I think what has happened especially since 2017 has led us to a very important journey in an environment where women in particular feel better supported during the day-to-day running of their work, and when needed. know that there are formal procedures they trust in and have some sort of guarantee of integrity.

“At the end of the day it’s going to be a decision for an individual employee to make – and it’s a big decision. It’s a very significant thing to do, but the important thing is that you create the conditions where people can make those decisions out loud. “

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Former Human Resources Director Barbara Allison said Mr Salmond “required high standards” of staff

Later in the hearing, former Human Resources Director Barbara Allison told MSPs that she was “aware of the issues that had been raised through the unions”, although there were no specific complaints.

She said: “I was aware that Mr Salmond could be demanding and hard working, he demanded high standards and if he did not understand, he would express his dissatisfaction.

“I would like to say in fairness that people also expressed that they enjoyed working for him, he was visionary, dynamic, he was a bit of a rollercoaster. There were a lot of shades of gray.

“There were rumors that he was demanding and difficult, but people had different experiences working with him.”

‘Intense pressure’

During his criminal trial in March – which found him not guilty of 13 counts of sexual assault – Mr Salmond said that for “his observation and experience” people were “eager to work in the private office”.

He said the staff was “subject to strong political pressure” but that people were “woven together by it”.

He added that he was “much more informal than any other part of government for the civil service”.

The former minister is expected to testify to the committee himself later this year.

His lawyers have already written to the group offering to go to court to force the issuance of Scottish government documents.

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