Workers facing bullying or violence at Daventry District Council have been promised that ‘all necessary steps’ will be taken to deal with their concerns after the authority adopted a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on abuse.
The district council has implemented the policy after reviewing its health and safety regulations, and says it is a ‘box-ticking exercise’ rather than a response to any specific threats or a culture of bullying. It was agreed by councillors at a strategy group meeting on September 12.
Executive director for resources, Tony Gillet, told members: “We have had arrangements in place through our health and safety practices for some time, but when we looked more recently we wanted a policy position of zero tolerance and we didn’t have a policy that said that.”
Councillor Richard Auger wanted to know what had driven the policy, asking: “Presumably it was covered by something else prior to this? Is this more a political statement or is there a more operational and practical reason for stating we have a zero tolerance? I assume we’ve always investigated things thoroughly, that we are relentless and that we protect our staff.”
Deputy chief executive Simon Bovey said: “It does send a message to customers, staff and workers. You probably expect it anyway, but you state it.”
And Mr Gillet added: “This was picked up by our safety advisory group. We had some notices that refer to zero tolerance in our reception areas and we wanted a policy position that backed that up. So if people challenge us on what our policy is, we know.”
The zero tolerance policy puts into writing that the district council will ‘investigate any incidents of violence, threatening or abusive behaviour at work and victims will be provided with appropriate support’.
It also ensures that ‘adequate’ consultation takes place with all employees, and that employees who are ‘intrinsically vulnerable’ are identified by officers.