Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Bully for You

Reading Borough Council has just published the results of a report into bullying in Children's Services. Not surprisingly, it discovered nothing wrong, but then rather curiously proposed measures to put things right!

Let's take out the council spin shall we. The report actually states...

* It is accepted that some staff and ex-staff felt they experienced bullying behaviour...
...before making excuses for why it didn't count as bullying.

The main reason the report did not find evidence of bullying is that there were four tests for it to be proven:

Intent: was the behaviour intended to cause distress or to humiliate;
Impact: how the behaviour impacted on the individual;
Context: the overall situation, the reality of the concerns, the timing and the setting in which events occurred and roles within it; and,
Perception: how the recipient, or others present, perceived the behaviour at the time or shortly afterwards.

As these tests were agreed with the unions, the council can safely claim that there was no problem. I'm not sure why the unions decided to drop their trousers and bend over and agree to these definitions, but in my book any two out of the four would be evidence of bullying.

More laughably the 'intent' clause makes a mockery of these rules, as the only way to find out intent is to ask the person accused of bullying and is reminiscent of the old joke... "Are you a spy?" "No." "Well that's okay then, welcome to MI6".

We're not going to get to the bottom of things when there is such clear evidence that incriminating council documents and emails are routinely destroyed and the chances of that improving in the future is remote when I was told that the working relationship between officers and lead members had to be protected.

I'm happy with the assurances given to me by the Chief Executive that he will do all it takes to stamp this culture within the council out. The problem really is how many of those responsible remain in post if it is so easy to dodge the bullet.

2 comments:

howard thomas said...

No doubt you are right in as much that if you set the level of proof high enough, then it is very easy for RBC to side step the issue!

howard thomas said...

No doubt you are right in as much that if you set the level of proof high enough, then it is very easy for RBC to side step the issue!