The BBRS is committed to dealing with all people fairly and to providing a high-quality service. It is important that we are able to communicate with someone bringing a complaint to us so we can understand it and deal with it appropriately. Equally, we wish to hear the relevant views of stakeholders and other third parties. For these reasons, we do not normally limit our contact with people.
However, we do not expect our staff to tolerate any form of behaviour that could be considered defamatory, abusive, offensive or threatening; behaviour that could constitute harassment or discrimination, as defined by the Equality Act 2010; or any form of contact that becomes so frequent or disproportionate in volume that it disrupts our work or prevents us from helping other people. We will take action under this policy to manage this type of behaviour and this applies to all contact with us, including the use of social media.
What we mean by ‘unreasonable behaviour’
We consider behaviour to fall within the scope of this policy where it could hinder the organisation because of its nature and/or frequency; as well as violent, threatening or abusive behaviour. We recognise that there is not always a clear distinction between these categories and that instances of unreasonable behaviour can take less or more serious forms. The following list of examples is not exhaustive and the BBRS will always take appropriate action in line with this policy where we consider behaviour to fall within its scope.
Examples of difficult and/or vexatious behaviour include: refusing to co-operate with due process; demanding special treatment (e.g. repeatedly demanding immediate escalation to a manager); refusing to accept that certain issues are not within the scope of the BBRS to consider; making unjustified complaints about staff and seeking to have them replaced; or making excessive demands (e.g. by insisting on unjustified lengthy phone calls or sending numerous emails to BBRS employees or Board members).
Examples of violent, threatening and/or abusive behaviour include: verbal abuse (e.g. swearing, insults or condescending language); verbal or written threats; harassment (e.g. discriminatory language); posting defamatory material about BBRS staff or the organisation on social medial; threatening behaviour (e.g. destroying property); or physical attacks (e.g. hitting, shoving, pushing or kicking).
We will make reasonable adjustments in line with the Equality Act 2010 to ensure that everyone can access our service. However, we must provide a safe working environment, which may require us to restrict how someone can contact us.
If we consider a person’s behaviour to be unreasonable, we will tell them why and will ask them to change it. If this behaviour continues, we will take action, which could mean restricting the person’s contact with us. In arriving at a decision about our contact with the person, any relevant factors such as disability, language or illness will be considered fully.
We will usually only take action to restrict someone’s contact with us after we have considered whether there are any alternative approaches we could take to prevent unreasonable behaviour from occurring. Any restrictions we impose will be appropriate, proportionate and based on evidence.
The most likely options include:
- requiring contact in a particular form (for example, email only);
- only allowing contact with a specific member of staff or at specific times;
- asking the person to enter into an agreement about their future behaviour;
- and/or actions to meet the specific needs of the person or situation.
In all cases we will tell the person why we believe their behaviour is unreasonable, what action we are taking and how long that action will last.
If, despite any adjustments we have made, a person continues to behave in an unreasonable way, we may decide to end contact with that person.
There will be occasions where we decide that a person’s behaviour threatens the safety and welfare of our staff or others. In these instances we will consider stopping all contact immediately, reporting what has happened to the police or taking legal action. In such cases, we may not warn the person before we do this.