Call to in­ves­ti­gate ‘town hall bul­ly­ing’

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRITTON

ACALL has been made for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into ‘bul­ly­ing’ at the coun­cil.

A group of coun­cil­lors have called for an ex­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter 10 per cent of Cheshire East staff mem­bers who re­sponded to a sur­vey said they felt bul­ly­ing was an is­sue.

Sam Corcoran, Cheshire East Coun­cil Labour spokesman, said Labour had pre­vi­ously asked for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into bul­ly­ing but it was de­ferred.

He said: “In De­cem­ber 2015 we tabled a mo­tion call­ing for an ex­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions of bul­ly­ing. Our re­quest was de­ferred and has not yet been hon­oured.

“But the staff sur­vey shows that con­cerns over bul­ly­ing have not gone away. We should not wait any longer be­fore tak­ing ac­tion on the on­go­ing con­cerns.

“Con­cerns over the cul­ture of the or­gan­i­sa­tion were raised by the Des­ig­nated In­de­pen­dent Per­son (DIP) who in­ves­ti­gated the Lyme Green fi­asco.

“Al­though the coun­cil paid £225,000 for the DIP re­port, they do not ap­pear to have acted ef­fec­tively to ad­dress its find­ings. The Labour Group is now call­ing for a quick and in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion to es­tab­lish the ex­tent of the prob­lem at Cheshire East Coun­cil.”

The staff sur­vey was un­der­taken dur­ing June and July 2016 to find out staff views in re­la­tion to bul­ly­ing and ha­rass­ment and 3,750 peo­ple were in­vited to take part. The re­sponse rate was 59pc.

The sur­vey asked staff to an­swer if ‘ where I work bul­ly­ing is not an is­sue’, and 10pc of those who an­swered said they ‘dis­agreed’. The ma­jor­ity of staff who an­swered did how­ever say they con­sid­ered them­selves to be treated with re­spect.

A coun­cil spokesman said the coun­cil has es­tab­lished a ‘re­as­sur­ance work­ing group’ to ad­dress the is­sue.

He said: “Cheshire East’s staff sur­vey re­sult, for the ques­tion of bul­ly­ing, is av­er­age when com- pared with those of the other or­gan­i­sa­tions against whom we are bench­marked. The chief ex­ec­u­tive and se­nior lead­er­ship hold regular open­in­vi­ta­tion fo­rums with staff, where em­ploy­ees’ well­be­ing and re­silience are dis­cussed.

“Both cor­po­rate and lo­cal ac­tions plans have been agreed to ad­dress find­ings from the staff sur­vey and are be­ing im­ple­mented to ad­dress ar­eas for im­prove­ment. Poli­cies and pro­ce­dures will be up­dated and train­ing and de­vel­op­ment will be made avail­able to re­in­force fair­ness and re­spect to re­duce neg­a­tive be­hav­iours in the work­place.”

Coun Sam Corcoran has called for the probe fol­low­ing a staff sur­vey

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