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Council to get tough on abuse to staff

Created on 16/07/2020 @ 11:25
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Powys County Council will introduce a new policy to clamp down on threatening, abusive and bullying behaviour aimed at its social services staff.

At their meeting on Tuesday, Powys County Council’s cabinet were told that an “undesirable customer’s conduct policy and procedure” would come into force soon.

This was part of a number of measures that councillors noted in a discussion on complaints and compliments that social services had received during 2019/20.

Head of (social services) business and systems improvement, Marcia Smith, said: “A key part of the improvement plan is the unacceptable resident policy that we are introducing.

“This isn’t about people or families who are upset or angry, who have cause for concern or worries. We deal with that every day and I would expect we do that in a calm and clear way.

“This is about people who are abusive, threatening, persistent, and the impact on our staff is unacceptable.”

The report showed that the complaints team had identified seven individuals who behave in this way.

Their concerns had been investigated formally over a number of years, and “significant” amounts of time and resources had been spent trying to sort out their concerns.

The report added that this approach “had little sustained effect” and they would continue to harass staff causing stress and anxiety.

Ms Smith added: “It is about the standard and care of support we as senior officers and you as leaders (cabinet) give to our staff. I think it will be really welcome.”

The new policy would be explained in greater detail at a meeting for councillors later this month.

It would give clear guidelines to residents and staff on how they should behave towards each other.

A key part of the policy says: “Whilst it is acknowledged that customers can get frustrated, the council will not tolerate behaviour which is deemed unacceptable, threatening, abusive or unreasonably persistent.

“The council defines undesirable behaviour as that which shows characteristics of discrimination, harassment, bullying, unreasonableness or vexation or a combination of these.”

By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

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