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Fair Work Ambassador Clarification

21 Dec 2018

On 20th December 2018, Unison posted on their social media channels the answer to a question posed by Neil Findlay MSP to the Scottish Government in relation to Edel Harris's claim to be a Fair Work Ambassador. Jamie Hepburn MSP response to the question:

Jamie Hepburn: "At present there is no recognised Scottish Government post or position of "Fair Work Ambassador". As such the Chief Execeutive of Cornerstone, nor any other individual has been or is recognised as such.

We have taken action to ensure that the term "Scottish Government" is not appropriate to be applied in any context of an organisation or individual being decribed as a "Fair Work Ambassador."

Cornerstone has since approached Mr Hepburn MSP for further comment on this matter and he sent the following message this afternoon:

"I want to set out at the outset of my response that I am sorry if you felt my response to the parliamentary question that you flagged to me didn’t provide wider context. It certainly wasn’t intended to cause any distress, or impugn your character.  I recognise that you had acted entirely in good faith in using the title Fair Work Ambassador as you had understood it to be assigned on behalf of the Scottish Government.

That of course, wasn’t the case.

As part of our work to inform our forthcoming Fair Work Action Plan, Scottish Government officials were keen to hear from employers about their experiences and challenges in adopting fair work, and to give other participating employers the opportunity to learn from this. Officials understood that Workplace Innovation had an existing network of employers, including some they had previously worked with on the Scottish Enterprise Workplace Innovation Engagement Programme, and asked them to bring some of these employers to workshops that had been pulled together to help inform our Fair Work Action Plan.  At no stage though was there any request to establish a network of Fair Work Ambassadors.

The email that you have forwarded to me, which I was unaware of having been sent at the time certainly seems to give the impression that the network of people it had been sent to, including you, describing them as Fair Work Ambassadors had been endorsed by the Scottish Government. As I have set out this network had not been formed or endorsed by the Scottish Government but again as I have set out I appreciate that you acted in all good faith in believing that this was the case.

It is highly unfortunate that this happened, and I am sorry it did.

I look to the Fair Work Convention to offer advice to the Government and I see no reason to add an additional group to that relationship. Officials have spoken again with Workplace Innovation today who have confirmed that contact has been made with those who had been erroneously identified as Scottish Government Fair Work Ambassadors to clarify the accurate position.

I genuinely regret any distress that has been caused to you, but hopefully the above sets out that equally the situation has largely been outside my control too."