Leslie Evans has announced the completion of an internal review into practices at Marine Scotland after allegations were made that a staff member had been taped to a chair as part of a campaign of bullying.
The Scottish Government perm sec was asked to oversee the probe into the fisheries directorate by first minister Nicola Sturgeon after a photograph showing staff member DeeAnn Fitzpatrick bound with postal tape emerged against the backdrop of an employment tribunal earlier this year.
Fitzpatrick had worked as a fisheries officer at Marine Scotland’s Scrabster office and claimed to have experienced bullying and harassment between 2015 and 2017. The tape incident was alleged to have occurred in 2010 and was not considered as part of the tribunal, which Canadian national Fitzpatrick subsequently lost.
Evans' statement on the internal review said Fitzpatrick’s treatment was “completely unacceptable, whatever the circumstances” and a “broad set of actions” was now in progress at the agency as a result of the investigation.
“A comprehensive internal review has now concluded,” she said. “The Scottish Government has robust disciplinary procedures to address behaviour that falls below expected standards and I am satisfied that these have been followed thoroughly and objectively in relation to this incident.
“A broad set of actions are underway in Marine Scotland to ensure a working environment which meets both the Civil Service Code and Scottish Government Standards of Behaviour.
“I do not normally comment publicly on staffing matters but I am issuing this short statement to update the public record given the previous parliamentary and wider interest in this issue.
“My unwavering commitment to ensuring a positive workplace for all employees in the Scottish Government remains”