Council take steps to address ‘culture of bullying’ with £136k investment

Moray Council – moves to address workplace bullying

Moray Council has laid out plans that they hope will lead to the eradication of a “culture of bullying” among their staff.

A survey amongst local authority staff in the region in 2013 found that almost one-third had claimed to have been bullied while undertaking their duties – and of those around 40% indicated that they had been subjected to victimisation by their own managers.

On Tuesday a meeting of the council’s policy and resources committee considered a long awaited report on bullying and agreed a raft of measures to tackle the issue over the next year, which is expected to cost the local authority around £136,000.

Staff training and a telephone hotline are amongst the measures the Council will take in the hope that it will ease the minds of those being bullied in the workplace and make it easier for them to report bullying.

However, Elgin councillor and a former local authority employee, Patsy Gowans, expressed her concerns on if the measures went far enough. She said: “I appreciate we are addressing these issues but I do not think these measures will eradicate the culture of bullying at Moray Council.

“It really is endemic – it is all over Moray Council, and putting thousands and thousands into it in this way is not going to help. The answer is to tackle the culprits – deal with them more strictly and make them change.”

Councillor Gowans added that while Moray Council had already brought in new people to their human resources department “that just adds a further layer of bureaucracy to the problem”.

The report was the result of a workplace culture group being formed last year seeking to devise solutions to an issue that the local authority initially denied, bringing an accusation last April by another Elgin councillor, Mike Shand, that the local authority was “burying its head in the sand” over the issue.

At Tuesday’s meeting the leader of Moray Council, Stewart Cree, said that the report demonstrated that Moray Council were “investing in our staff to ensure things improve for them”, adding: “There is no silver bullet that will solve all of our problems.

“It takes many years for a culture to grow and it will take many years for a culture to change.”

Moray Council’s corporate director, Mark Palmer, said: “We need to support managers and staff to look at how we change the culture of the organisations – decisions will come from working with staff.”

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