We work hard to be open and accessible to everyone. Occasionally, the behaviour or actions of a very small number of our residents using our service makes it very difficult for us to deal with their complaint.
We recognise that sometimes on single occasions, during times of stress and anxiety, that behaviours can alter and deemed unacceptable. Our teams are trained to support and challenge these behaviours so that we can continue to provide a service.
That said, where behaviour is significantly unacceptable, or continues these situations can be challenging to our staff, which take up an unreasonable amount of time and resources.
When this happens, we must take action to protect our staff. We also consider the impact of the behaviour on our ability to do our work and provide a service to others.
We have aligned our approach with the Housing Ombudsman approach to managing unacceptable behaviour.
How do we define unacceptable actions?
- Aggressive or abusive behaviour – examples of aggressive or abuse behaviour can (but is not limited to) include:
• Physical violence
• Language which is designed to:
– insult or degrade,
– is racist,
– sexist or homophobic; or
– which makes serious allegations that individuals have committed criminal, corrupt, or perverse conduct without any evidence is unacceptable
- Unreasonable demands – examples of this behaviour include:
• Repeatedly demanding a response within an unreasonable timescale
• Insisting on seeing or speaking to a particular member of staff, when that is not possible
• Repeatedly changing the substance of a complaint or raising unrelated concerns
• Continual phone calls, emails, or letters
• Repeatedly requesting services that are contrary to our policies or would place a disproportionate burden upon the organisation
- Unreasonable Levels of Contact or Demands – examples of this include:
• Persistent refusal to accept a decision made in relation to a complaint or enquiry
• Persistent refusal to accept explanations relating to what we can or cannot reasonably do
• Continuing to pursue a case without presenting any new information
What happens if you need advice?
What amounts to unacceptable behaviour will always depend on the circumstances surrounding the behaviour and the seriousness of the issues. If residents require independent support, they may wish to seek advice from an advice agency such as Citizens Advice.
Where we consider that additional support is required for an individual, we will make the necessary referral to the appropriate agency or service.
How we will respond to unacceptable actions or behaviours by residents
Our response to unreasonable actions/behaviour will depend on the nature and extent of their impact.
Our teams are authorised to take such immediate action as they, acting reasonably and responsibly, consider to be appropriate at the time. Such action may include immediately removing themselves from a situation, ending telephone calls, and not replying to other forms of communication where the contact is considered aggressive, abusive, or offensive. The employee in this situation has the right to make this decision, tell the resident that the behaviour is unacceptable, and end the attendance/call/communication if the behaviour continues. This will be documented, and the manager notified.
We may report incidents to the Police where necessary and appropriate. With any action taken, the resident will be notified of the steps being taken and the reasons, when and how they should communicate or access services going forward.
We understand that some residents have disabilities or other protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act (2010), which may make it difficult for them to express themselves or communicate clearly, especially when they are anxious or upset.
However, we would not consider it to be reasonable to expect our staff to accept being subjected to aggressive, offensive, or abusive actions, language, or behaviour. We may still use the policy if there are actions or behaviours which are having a negative effect on our staff or our work.