Staff face a ‘culture of bullying’ at Borough Hall

Results of a confidential survey have revealed a “culture of bullying and unfair treatment” at Bedford Borough Council.

Members of union GMB are set to call an urgent meeting with the authority after a survey revealed nearly 60 per cent of employees had suffered from bullying in the workplace.

The results report that out of the 58 respondents who claimed they had been harassed, bullied or discriminated against, 45 per cent claimed it was by a council manager and 31 per cent felt bullied by a senior manager.

Martin Foster, GMB branch secretary for Bedfordshire said: “The results of the GMB survey are even worse than we thought it would be.

“It showed that even though GMB members recognised that an Equal Opportunity Policy was in place at the council, 62 per cent felt the policy is not being properly applied. Most shocking of all is that 90 per cent of the respondents said they would not be confident in reporting bullying or harassment to their council manager.

“This may not come as a surprise when 76 per cent believe they are being bullied by managers.” Twenty per cent of members also claimed that they felt they had been bullied due to a disability.

The GMB, which carried out the confidential survey in December, says that due to the serious nature of the survey results talks with the council should be at the “highest possible” level.

It did plan to share the results at a meeting last week. but did not get the chance.

A council spokesman said: “Senior managers met with the GMB on February20 and the matter of the survey was not raised at the meeting.

“We are disappointed that the GMB did not raise what appears to be their significant concerns at that meeting.

“The council’s own staff survey, in 2013, did not highlight these issues.”