Sunday, 15 November 2009

Council seek to protect staff from 'unreasonable' complainants

A new policy aimed at protecting Vale of Glamorgan Council staff from ‘unreasonably persistent’ complainants has been agreed.

The cabinet heard that individuals deemed as being in such a category were very few, and council leader Cllr Gordon Kemp said the authority sought to respond with ‘patience and sympathy’ to the needs of all complainants.

Unfortunately, even at the end of the formal complaints process when the Ombudsman decided not to intervene, the behaviour of some individuals 'becomes unreasonable' and people pursue their complaints in ways which can either impede an investigation or can have significant resource issues for the council.

Cllr Kemp added: "In a minority of cases this behaviour can lead to individuals becoming aggressive, abusive and threatening or continuing to bombard staff with letters, e-mails or telephone calls.

"While the council has a culture of aiming to handle complaints effectively, unreasonable complainants can have a negative effect on staff and, indirectly, on services as they can very often be demanding and time consuming."

Cllr Kemp said the new policy created a ‘fair and equitable’ process which, as an ultimate deterrent, included ending or suspending contact with individuals in relation to the specific service of which they were complaining. Such regrettable situations would be subject to six-month reviews.


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