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Council / Bullying allegations raised at council meeting

SIC chief Maggie Sandison says bullying is ‘entirely unacceptable’

A COUNCILLOR says some of his constituents who work for the SIC have alleged they have been bullied by managers.

Alex Armitage, who represents the Shetland South ward, raised the matter at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday.

Shetland South councillor Alex Armitage.

He said he heard the allegations from constituents during the recent election campaign.

The Green councillor said he was well aware that the SIC has a policy in place regarding bullying.

“But it is something that’s very difficult to enforce,” Armitage said.

“And bullying is something by its very nature  difficult to call out by junior employees.”

He questioned whether the council has looked at staff turnover in different departments as a way of “addressing hidden bullying”.

Council chief executive Maggie Sandison stressed that bullying is “entirely unacceptable in this organisation”.

“Clearly we have a policy which is about being able to raise issues, but we also have a process where raising concerns at work […] doesn’t have to happen through a line management process, it can come direct to other people within the council,” she added.

“Currently we’re also looking at having external ability to report to our auditors about any concerns about bullying at work.”

Sandison said “we are making all attempts to make staff have routes to raise matters of concern”.

This includes offering ‘meet the chief’ sessions where staff can have one-to-ones with Sandison herself.

She added that the council carries out exit interviews, while there is also a workforce strategy in place.

“I take this matter extremely seriously and will act,” Sandison said.