Policy

1. The SPCB is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for all staff. Part of this commitment will include minimising the risks caused by alcohol and/or drug consumption or dependency. The SPCB also has a legal responsibility to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of staff and other building users. Individual members of staff are also responsible for taking reasonable care of themselves and others who could be affected by what they do at work. This policy has been developed with these commitments and legal responsibilities in mind.

2. The SPCB recognises such dependency as an illness that can seriously affect the health and work performance of any individual in terms of safety, efficiency, productivity and attendance. It also recognises the effects that it can have on work colleagues. We will take full account of the terms of the Equalities Act 2010 in the operation of this policy.

Who is covered by this policy?

3. This policy applies to all SPCB staff, those on secondment from other organisations and contractors. The support offered in the policy is for each employer to determine.

What is the policy?

4. The principles of the SPCB’s policy on substance abuse, which applies to the use of illegal drugs, misuse of legal drugs or other substances such as solvents or alcohol, are that:

  • You must not present yourself for work under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Under the influence means that there is a sufficient amount of a substance in your system to demonstrate that your performance is impaired or that you are likely to pose a risk to others.
  • You must not consume alcohol in the office during normal working hours unless you have the prior agreement of your Head of Office/Group. The Head of Office/Group may agree to this if, for example, a small celebratory drinks party was being held to commemorate someone’s retirement.
  • When you are performing a representational role or if you can be identified as a parliamentary employee, either internally or externally, we expect you to adopt a mature and responsible attitude towards the consumption of alcohol.. This includes when visiting the Members’ bar in Holyrood, or when attending external functions.
  • You must not be in possession of or sell illegal drugs whilst on duty and/or on our premises. This is a criminal offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and anyone caught in this position will be reported to the police and will also be investigated under the SPCB’s disciplinary procedures in relation to alleged gross misconduct. If the investigation finds that the allegation against you is well founded, you will be liable to sanctions up to and including dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice. You should be aware that committing an act of gross misconduct will normally result in your dismissal. If we have reasonable grounds to suspect that you are in possession of illegal drugs, we reserve the right to search you or your work area, including your desk, pedestal, cupboards, locker, bags, and car if it is on our premises.
  • Neither must you sell prescription drugs whilst on duty and/or on our premises. Anyone caught selling prescription drugs will be reported to the police and will also be investigated under the SPCB’s disciplinary procedures in relation to alleged gross misconduct. If the investigation finds that the allegation against you is well founded, you will be liable to sanctions up to and including dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice.
  • If you take any drugs at work, with the exception of over the counter remedies, which have not been prescribed to you on medical grounds, you will, in the absence of any mitigating circumstances, be investigated under the SPCB’s disciplinary procedures in relation to alleged gross misconduct. If the investigation finds that the allegation against you is well founded, you will be liable to sanctions up to and including dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice.
  • We recognise that prescription and over the counter remedies can also have a negative effect on your performance at work. If you are in any doubt, you should discuss any possible side effects with your GP. If there is a possibility of any such side effects impairing your performance at work, you should inform your line manager so that he/she can take these into account and adjust your duties if necessary.

What does “if your performance is impaired” mean?

5. Your performance is impaired if you cannot carry out your duties to the standard that is normally required for your job. However, other things may have an effect on your performance at work, for example, if your breath smells of alcohol. The smell of alcohol on your breath will affect people’s views, not only about you, but also about the organisation. Work and alcohol are not a good mix.

What happens if I breach the policy?

6. If you are employed by the SPCB, we will provide all of the support mechanisms described in this policy. This may include a compulsory referral to our Occupational Health Service provider in order to draw up and agree an assistance programme, if necessary. If you are on secondment from another organisation or a contractor, the responsibility to provide support and assistance lies with your own employer. Accordingly, if you breach this policy, we will inform your employer so that they might take any necessary action. This may result in the termination of the secondment etc arrangements.

What are the signs of substance abuse?

7. Possible signs of substance abuse that you might look for include but are not restricted to:

  • Sudden mood changes;
  • Unusual irritability or aggression;
  • A tendency to become confused;
  • Abnormal fluctuations in concentration and energy;
  • Impaired job performance;
  • Poor timekeeping;
  • Increase short term sickness absence;
  • A deterioration in relationships with colleagues or Members;
  • Any behaviour which may indicate the need to finance an expensive habit.
  • Remember that all of the signs shown above may be caused by other factors (such as stress for example) and should be regarded only as indicators that an employee may be misusing drugs, solvents or alcohol.

Why should I be aware of such signs?

8. The SPCB’s policy aims primarily to provide support to staff who have a substance abuse problem. It is important, therefore, that if a member of staff is showing any signs of substance abuse, the appropriate support structure is put in place at the earliest possible time.