Hartlepool Council to target bullies with new policy

Dave Stubbs.
Dave Stubbs.

A COUNCIL has agreed a new policy aimed at clamping down on bullying and harassment in the workplace.

Senior councillors at Hartlepool Borough Council have rubber-stamped the policy document, with senior officers saying bullying will not be tolerated in the local authority.

Dave Stubbs, the council’s chief executive, added that any issues that were raised they aimed to deal with “as quickly as possible” in a bid to resolve them as soon as possible.

The plans were discussed and unanimously backed by the finance and policy committee at a recent meeting.

A report by Andrew Atkin, the council’s assistant chief executive, said: “Hartlepool Borough Council treats the health, safety and wellbeing of its staff in the highest regard, and as such, is committed to the development and promotion of a positive workplace culture that is free from bullying and harassment.

“The council does not condone bullying and harassment and aims to ensure that any allegation of bullying or harassment at work is taken seriously and dealt with effectively.

“The council has developed a document which will replace the existing Employee Support and Dignity at Work Policies.”

At the meeting, Mr Stubbs, chief executive, was asked what timescales are in place for responding and dealing with any reported incidents.

Mr Stubbs said: “We always endeavour to respond as quickly as we can.

“There are times when it can take longer to collate evidence but we will endeavour always to see to that as quickly as we can.

“It can sometimes depend on the nature of the complaint - there is no set timescale.”

Councillors on the committee gave their unanimous backing.

The report provided the background to the development of the council’s bullying and harassment policy which clearly set out the process for employees wishing to make an allegation.

It highlighted both the informal and formal routes available to resolve the issue with “minimal impact” on working relationships, where possible.

Officers said at the request of the finance and policy committee the policy was circulated to all staff to allow any issues to be submitted to the committee.

The report outlined that a number of minor comments were received from staff and trade unions which “helped” clarify the policy.