New strategy to deal with Council concerns over bullying

Councillors will consider new direction on staff bullying
Councillors will consider new direction on staff bullying fears

STAFF CONCERNS OVER bullying at Moray Council will see the local authority spend over £136,000 in an attempt to deal with the issue.

Members of the policy and resources committee will be asked this morning to approve a new strategy after a survey among staff showed that almost a third claimed to have been bullied.

A survey carried out in 2013 found that 40% of staff had believed they were being victimised by their superiors. Councillors will be reminded today that a follow-up survey this year showed an improvement – but still 19% of staff said that they had been subjected to bullying.

In the report today it is noted that of those who had experienced bullying or harassment in the workplace, 56% said that a colleague, manager or councillor had been involved.

Report author Denise Whitworth, who is head of Human Resources, concluded that an “additional solution” was needed to address the issue, saying: “It is of note that these survey results endorse earlier findings from Council workforce surveys in relation to the reporting of cultural issues around the way that people behave towards each other in the workplace.

“Taking this into account, the Workforce Culture group formed the view that it would be helpful to have a clear means of emphasising and supporting the need for positive behaviour and for issues to be addressed early without the need for a formal complaint.

“They concluded that while it is necessary to have a formal bullying and harassment policy, that this had not served the softer less tangible concerns well to date and that an additional solution was required to address these cultural issues.”

Council leader Stewart Cree has been head of a new Workforce Culture Group which was created last year to look at ways of boosting staff morale.  He said: “Rather than sitting back and bemoaning the state of affairs, the workforce culture group has been very active in coming forward with solutions.

“People have more confidence in bringing concerns to the council now, as they believe they will be acknowledged.”