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Policy to address unreasonable behaviour towards staff is approved by Cabinet

Cabinet has approved Bridgend County Borough Council’s revised policy to address unreasonable behaviour, which includes vexatious complainant behaviour, from members of the public.

Although usually positive, some contact with the public can be challenging.  In the last 12 months, only 0.9 per cent of complainants have been deemed as vexatious - one of the complainants, over a three-month period, called the council over 2,500 times, despite the issues raised, having already been resolved. The considerable amount of officer and member time used in this situation is detrimental to the service that the council is trying to provide.

Unreasonable behaviour towards council staff is not limited to complaints and can also present as actual or threatened violence or abuse.

A policy dealing with such behaviour offers consistency amongst employees, as well as supports officers in having a clear understanding of what is expected, what options are available and who can authorise these actions.

The council is committed to responding openly and with transparency to all complaints. However, local authority staff have the right to feel safe and appreciated in their work, and we have a clear set of values that does not tolerate unreasonable or abusive behaviour.

99.1 per cent of complaints are reasonable, but unfortunately, there are a small number of complainants who treat our staff unreasonably.

Dealing with such vexatious complainant behaviour consumes resources and detracts support from other issues. This policy will enable these complainants to be managed more effectively.

Councillor Rhys Goode, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations

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