A new independent process is to be set up by the end of this year to investigate complaints against ministers and former ministers, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The First Minister said her Government was “determined to learn” from the way in which sexual harassment allegations against Alex Salmond were handled.
A ruling by the Court of Session that the Scottish Government had acted unlawfully in the way it dealt with these claims resulted in the former first minister being awarded a payout of more than £500,000.
Three subsequent reports considered the actions of both the Government and Ms Sturgeon throughout the process.
While an independent investigator cleared the First Minister of breaching the ministerial code, another review, led by Laura Dunlop QC, called for allegations to be investigated independently rather than by the Scottish Government.
In its response to those reviews, the Government confirmed that it would “by the end of 2021, introduce an external and independent procedure for the investigation and adjudication of complaints about ministers’ or former ministers’ behaviour”.
The Government has also pledged to take action to “improve how we use, store and retrieve information and records”.
And a special team is to be set up to “ensure the highest standards of propriety and integrity across the civil service in Scotland”.
The Government’s responses stressed that “rebuilding confidence in our complaints process” was a priority for improvement.
It comes as both Ms Sturgeon and Leslie Evans, Scotland’s most senior civil servant, acknowledged that the two women who made complaints against the former first minister had been let down.
In a foreword to the Scottish Government document, both the First Minister and the Permanent Secretary apologised “unreservedly” to them.
“Tackling allegations of sexual misconduct, particularly when these are historical and where there is an imbalance of power, is and will remain challenging,” Ms Sturgeon and Ms Evans said.
But they said the actions the Government has now set out “aim to ensure that change happens”.
They stated: “We have made that commitment to staff, to Parliament and to the public and it is absolute.”
Ms Sturgeon stressed, meanwhile, that the complaints made by the two women “could not be ignored”, adding that “everyone should be able to expect a respectful and safe working environment”.
Speaking about the changes, she said: “Our goal is to embed a culture where bullying and harassment is not tolerated and where there is trust in how matters will be handled if things go wrong.
“This work is informed by engagement with our recognised trade unions and by staff, including those with lived experiences of bullying and harassment.
“We are determined to learn from and apply the insights from these reports to build a culture in Government where concerns are addressed early, and where all those involved with a complaint have confidence and can engage constructively and fairly in the process.”