Council chiefs ‘burying their heads in the sand’ over workplace bullying

Concerns over bullying of staff employed at Moray Council are not receiving the attention they deserves by officials.

That was the view expressed by Elgin City North councillor Mike Shand at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday, when he accused senior management of “burying their heads in the sand” over concerns raised by staff.

A staff survey in 2013 revealed that bullying was a major issue amongst Council staff.

While Moray Council has an adopted policy aimed at protecting vulnerable adults against bullying, Councillor Shand charged senior staff with failing to take seriously the issue of bullying amongst their own staff.

After quizzing council officers on their lack of progress on the issue since the 2013 report, he said that their answers were at best “wooly and non-committal” – while at worse they were “burying their heads in the sand”.

Councillor Shand said: “Bullying is a very serious concern and several councillors have had personal contact from staff who state they have left Moray Council due to bullying and harassment.

“This is borne out by the results of the staff survey, which identified a worrying level of concern amongst those completing the survey.

“As an employer the Council has a responsibility to tackle this issue head on and with vigour. I do not see any of that vigour – and when I suggested that we should be sending senior officers to a major workplace bullying conference it was largely dismissed with no commitment whatsoever.

“I do not believe the Council is dealing with this disturbing matter effectively and as long as there is a significant bullying issue this will impact on staff morale and on the services the Council provides to the public.

“Moray Council does not appear to accept it has a problem, never mind actually dealing with it and that is untenable. It is not a problem that will go away, as the SNP will make sure it does not until it is being properly addressed.”

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