The Scottish Government is overhauling human resources operations following the collapse of the botched misconduct investigation into Alex Salmond.

SNP ministers are spending an initial £187,000 hiring consultants to help draw up a “proposed HR Transformation Strategy” for their troubled People Directorate.

Edinburgh-based PA Consulting Group will now work on an analysis of options, targets, a “transformation roadmap”, an outline business case and a detailed business case.

READ MORE: Business diary of Nicola Sturgeon's top aide records gym class but not Alex Salmond meeting 

The work also covers “HR best practice”, suggesting shortcomings in the current set-up need to be addressed. 

The contract – awarded without being publicly advertised under an expedited system – comes just a month after the failure in Mr Salmond’s case.

The former First Minister won a judicial review hearing at the Court of Session over the handling of the government’s investigation into alleged sexual misconduct complaints.

READ MORE: Calls for public inquiry into "unlawful" handling of sexual misconduct complaints against Alex Salmond 

Ministers admitted the probe was unfair, unlawful and tainted by apparent bias when it emerged the chief investigator had prior contact with the two complainers, which rendered the process invalid and left taxpayers with a £500,000 legal bill.

The probe was conducted by the People Directorate which is now at the heart of the “transformation”.

The government confirmed under Freedom of Information this week that investigator Judith Mackinnon had been appointed by Director of People Nicola Richards. 

In an email to Ms Mackinnon last January, Ms Richards said: “I have received this formal complaint from [redacted] and I am appointing you as the senior investigating officer. Would you be able to review this and get the investigation underway?

"I have thanked [redacted] and said that you will be in touch.” Ms Mackinnon did not recuse herself.

Separately, Mr Salmond last month appeared in court charged with two counts of attempted rape, nine of sexual assault, two of indecent assault and one of breach of the peace.

He strongly denies any criminality.

According to a government contract notice, ministers want their HR consultants to work with the People Directorate Improvement Programme team to “test their vision”.

PA Consulting and the government’s HR bosses will look at “HR services trends, and the ‘art-of-the possible’... emerging technologies (e.g. Cloud) and HR ‘best-practice’.”

In the contract notice, the government’s People Directorate said: “Our aim is to become a ‘fit-for-purpose, modern, continuously improving HR function that makes the most of our people, processes and technology.

"Our services will offer an improved employee experience and will be value-for-money.’ We are seeking to appoint a Supplier who will work collaboratively with us to develop a strategy that will enable us to deliver services in the most optimal, economical and efficient way.”

The contract was not openly advertised, but awarded through the Quick Quote system meant for relatively minor contracts, where potential suppliers are approached directly.

There were five bidders for the work, with the winning bid £187,276.

PA Consulting is now due to start the preliminary “discovery phase” next Monday and finish by May 3.

A  Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We operate a shared HR service for a number of government agencies.

"We are transforming the service to meet the needs of the customer base and to ensure the efficiency of our processes and technology.”