Sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct inquiry - call for written evidence


The Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee is holding an inquiry into sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct at the Scottish Parliament.

The remit of the inquiry is-

  • To conduct an examination of the rules, procedures and guidance governing the reporting, investigation and sanctioning of MSPs’ conduct with regard to sexual harassment at the Scottish Parliament.
  • To consider the Code of Conduct for MSPs, and the context in which it operates, in order to deliver a reporting regime which inspires confidence in those affected by MSPs’ conduct that they will be taken seriously and treated fairly and that appropriate action will be taken if sexual harassment is found to have occurred, including sanctions.
  • To examine political parliamentary parties’ approaches to the reporting and investigation of MSPs’ conduct with regard to sexual harassment at the Scottish Parliament with a view to making recommendations.
  • To understand workplace cultural and societal factors that may be relevant to MSPs’ conduct with regard to sexual harassment and determine whether and what changes could be made to the Code of Conduct to address them.

The Committee is seeking views on the following—

  • What are the key principles and essential elements of a reporting, investigation and sanctions framework for use by the Scottish Parliament to deal with sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct that would inspire confidence in those engaging with the process and the public in general?
  • What features of reporting and investigation frameworks can act as barriers to reporting and a lack of action on undesirable behaviours? Please provide examples.
  • How can positive changes to workplace culture be achieved that lessen the prevalence of sexual harassment? What examples of best practice are there from which the Scottish Parliament could learn? Do you have any comments on how effective and clear the current arrangements are in the Scottish Parliament for reporting sexual harassment? Do you have any suggestions for changes to improve the current rules and procedures?

The deadline for views is Friday 26 January 2018.

The Committee believes that it is essential that victims of sexual harassment speak out, however it is not within the remit of this inquiry to investigate individual cases. If you would like to make a complaint about an MSP you should do so in the first instance to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.

For support in dealing with issues of this nature, please refer to the Parliament’s webpage: Fostering a Culture of Respect, Fairness and Dignity. The webpage provides information on a range of sources of advice and support for those affected.

How to submit written evidence

Before making a submission, please read our policy on treatment of written evidence. In line with that policy, submissions will normally be published on our website. We recognise that in some circumstances people may prefer for their evidence to be treated as confidential or published anonymously. If you wish to do this, please make this clear when submitting your evidence.

Please use the template below to prepare your written submission. Written submissions should be reasonably brief and typewritten in Word format (preferably no more than 4-6 sides of A4 in total).

Sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct inquiry – proforma for written evidence.

The deadline for receipt of written submissions is Friday 26 January 2018.

Owing to the timescales normally required for the processing and analysis of evidence, late submissions will only be accepted with the advance agreement of the clerk.

The Committee prefers to receive submissions electronically. These should be sent to:

[email protected]

You may also send a hard copy of written submissions to:

Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee
Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP

We welcome written evidence in any language.

Further information

For further information about the Committee’s work on the sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct inquiry please contact the clerks by email at [email protected] or by phone on 0131 348 6924.

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