Councillors have pledged to introduce a programme of change that they hope will put an end to what has been described as a culture of bullying at the Moray Council.
A special meeting of the full council considered a report ordered earlier this year after SNP councillor Mike Shand had accused the local authority of “burying their heads in the sand” over workplace bullying.
Councillor Shand spoke out in April insisting that little or nothing had been done to address the issue after a 2013 survey had revealed bullying as a major issue amongst council staff.
That resulted in a new survey being carried out that reported back to Councillors on Wednesday – suggesting that 30% of respondents felt that they had been bullied while carrying out their jobs over the last year.
“This should be a meaculpa moment for this organisation because we have done nothing about it in the past,” Councillor Shand told councillors. He added: “I welcome this report but we really should have done something years ago.”
Now a new working group is to be set up with a membership of councillors and trade union representatives who will be asked to bring forward possible solutions to the issue.
Council leader Stewart Cree commented: “It would be great to live in a world where there was no bullying, unfortunately this sort of behaviour is all too often experienced.
“We have to try and establish and environment where we try to act with courtesy and respect all day every day. It is possible to achieve cultural change but it might take a long time.
“The breathalyzer was introduced in 1967 but it took many years before some people finally stopped drink driving.”
In March this year Moray Council adopted an anti-bullying policy aimed at protecting vulnerable adults against bullying. The Vulnerable Adults – Anti-Bullying Policy recognises that all staff within the Moray Council and members of the community all have a part to play in dealing with such incidences effectively.