Bullying and Harassment

Vicky Gray made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Sunderland City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Sir/Madam

I would like to know how many employees of the city council have
been absent from work due to either stress, anxiety, depression or
any combination of those ailments between 1st August 2004 and 31st
October 2008.

Please also confirm how many complaints of bullying have been made
by employees of the council against managers or colleagues during
the same period.

Please confirm how many employees have claimed constructive
dismissal within the same period for bullying/harassment.

Please confirm how many claims have been filed against the city
council at the Employment Tribunal within the same period for bullying/harassment.

I would ask that you remember the statutory duty imposed upon
public authorities by virtue of Section 16 of the Freedom of
Information Act to provide advice and assistance to requesters. If
for any reason you are leaning toward rejecting any part of this
request or if you plan to argue that it is unmanageable or
unanswerable in any way then I would expect you to contact me
promptly to find ways to answer this request to our mutual
satisfaction.

Yours sincerely

Vicky Gray

Darren Rigg, Sunderland City Council

Ms Gray

I confirm that your request for information has been received and is receiving attention.

The Council aims to provide available information promptly, and in any event within 20 working days, unless, exceptionally, there is a need to consider whether the information is exempt from disclosure. Please note that there may be a charge for providing copies of the information. If the cost of complying with your request in full exceeds £450, we will ask you to reconsider your request, or to pay a fee before the information is supplied. If a charge or fee is payable we will let you know.

Customer Number: 862
Request Number: 1290

Regards

Darren Rigg
Information Manager
City Solicitors
Sunderland City Council

0191 561 1941
[email address]

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Dear Darren Rigg

Thank you for your prompt response. I would also clarify when I mentioned constructive dismissal, I was referring to the employee directly, similar point about bullying and harassment complaints, there is no Employment Tribunal claim called "bullying and harassment". This will usually form part of a claim for unfair dismissal or one (or more) of the various discrimination claim and/or under the Protection from Harassment Act. Could you provide the information on the aforementioned.

Could you provide the information in electronic format via this website.

Thank you for your full co-operation

Yours Sincerely

Vicky Gray

Suzanne Vickery, Sunderland City Council

Dear Ms Gray

I confirm that your request for information concerning Bullying and Harassment has been considered.

Since December 2006 1233 employees of the City Council have been absent from work due to either stress, anxiety or depression.

Please note that we do not currently record information on bullying and harassment on our computerised HR systems and therefore we are unable to collate the information you have requested from this source. There is a corresponding paper based system which is compiled and held locally within Council Directorates.

Therefore, I can confirm that Sunderland City Council holds information falling within the description specified in your request. However, I estimate that the cost of complying with your request would exceed the appropriate limit of £450. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 2½ working days in determining whether the Council holds the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the information. Under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act the Council is not obliged to comply with your request.

I hope this is satisfactory. If, however, you are dissatisfied with our response to your request for information, you can ask for the decision to be reviewed in reply to this letter. The review will be removed from the Directorate and coordinated by the Customer Services Manager. If this fails to resolve your concerns then you have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision.

Should you have any queries about anything contained in this letter, please do not hesitate to contact me on the number below.

Your sincerely

Suzanne Vickery
Personal Assistant to Senior Management Team
Telephone: 0191 561 1722
Email: [email address]
Web: www.sunderland.gov.uk

Office of the Chief Executive
PO Box 113, Civic Centre, Sunderland, SR2 7DN

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Dear Ms Vickery

Thank you for your prompt response. I would raise the following points with you:

1) As a council one would expect you would employ a welfare officer, who would be advised of all staff who had said they were being bullied, it would be part of your duty of care under both the Health & Safety At Work Act 1974 and also under most contracts of employment. Details would have to be passed to that person or an appointed person in HR. One would assume that a council would have a welfare officer, who would be advised of all staff absent due to stress or those who had said they were being bullied, it would be part of their duty of care under both the Health & Safety At Work Act 1974 and also under most contracts of employment. So details would have to be passed to that person or an appointed person in HR.

2) Your suggestion that to search through the files over four years is slightly confusing as one would imagine each file would have a section dealing with Bullying/Grievances/Harassment. If the files are manual files held in what the Data Protection Act refers to as a "Manual relevant structured filing system," one would expect it would take at most a minute to extract a file from a cabinet, open it, turn up the sickness tab and glance at the sheet and scribble a note if the file refers to Bullying/Grievances/Harassment and put it back again. The "relevant cost limit" from Section 12 is £450 or two and a half days work. By those figures, one would expect you to be able to review 1000 files in that time. If you ran a query on your database, you could identify all employees who had submitted Grievances/Bullying/ Harassment in the period I have requested and then look at these files.

3) There is no Employment Tribunal claim called "bullying harassment" . This will usually form part of a claim for unfair dismissal or one (or more) of the various discrimination claim and/or under the Protection from Harassment Act, can you confirm how many employees have claimed on these ground for either
constructive dismissal or one(or more) of the various discrimination claim and/or under the Protection from Harassment Act?

4) I will repeat the questions again just to make sure everything is clear:

a) I would like to know how many employees of the city council have been absent from work due to either stress, anxiety, depression or any combination of those ailments between 1st August 2004 and 31st October 2008.

b) Please also confirm how many complaints of bullying have been made by employees of the council against managers or colleagues during the same period 1st August 2004 and 31st October 2008.

c) Please confirm how many employees have claimed constructive dismissal within the same period 1st August 2004 and 31st October 2008 for bullying/harassment, unfair dismissal or one (or more) of the various discrimination claims and/or under the Protection from Harassment Act.

d) Please confirm how many claims have been filed against the city council at the Employment Tribunal within the same period 1st August 2004 and 31st October 2008 for bullying/harassment or one (or more) of the various discrimination and/or under the Protection from Harassment Act.

I would point out you have a legal obligation to provide the correct figures.

Thank you for you full co-operation.

Your sincerely

Vicky Gray

Dear Sir or Madam

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Sunderland City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Bullying and Harassment'.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/bu...

I PRESSED THE WRONG BUTTON AND INTENDED TO REQUEST AN INTERNAL REVIEW TO MY LAST RESPONSE ON THE FOLLOWING GROUNDS:

1) As a council one would expect you would employ a welfare
officer, who would be advised of all staff who had said they were
being bullied, it would be part of your duty of care under both the
Health & Safety At Work Act 1974 and also under most contracts of
employment. Details would have to be passed to that person or an
appointed person in HR. One would assume that a council would have
a welfare officer, who would be advised of all staff absent due to
stress or those who had said they were being bullied, it would be
part of their duty of care under both the Health & Safety At Work
Act 1974 and also under most contracts of employment. So details
would have to be passed to that person or an appointed person in
HR.

2) Your suggestion that to search through the files over four years
is slightly confusing as one would imagine each file would have a
section dealing with Bullying/Grievances/Harassment. If the files
are manual files held in what the Data Protection Act refers to as
a "Manual relevant structured filing system," one would expect it
would take at most a minute to extract a file from a cabinet, open
it, turn up the sickness tab and glance at the sheet and scribble a
note if the file refers to Bullying/Grievances/Harassment and put
it back again. The "relevant cost limit" from Section 12 is £450 or
two and a half days work. By those figures, one would expect you to
be able to review 1000 files in that time. If you ran a query on
your database, you could identify all employees who had submitted
Grievances/Bullying/ Harassment in the period I have requested and
then look at these files.

3) There is no Employment Tribunal claim called "bullying
harassment" . This will usually form part of a claim for unfair
dismissal or one (or more) of the various discrimination claim
and/or under the Protection from Harassment Act, can you confirm
how many employees have claimed on these ground for either
constructive dismissal or one(or more) of the various
discrimination claim and/or under the Protection from Harassment
Act?

4) I will repeat the questions again just to make sure everything
is clear:

a) I would like to know how many employees of the city council have
been absent from work due to either stress, anxiety, depression or
any combination of those ailments between 1st August 2004 and 31st
October 2008.

b) Please also confirm how many complaints of bullying have been
made by employees of the council against managers or colleagues
during the same period 1st August 2004 and 31st October 2008.

c) Please confirm how many employees have claimed constructive
dismissal within the same period 1st August 2004 and 31st October
2008 for bullying/harassment, unfair dismissal or one (or more) of
the various discrimination claims and/or under the Protection from
Harassment Act.

d) Please confirm how many claims have been filed against the city
council at the Employment Tribunal within the same period 1st
August 2004 and 31st October 2008 for bullying/harassment or one
(or more) of the various discrimination and/or under the Protection
from Harassment Act.

I would point out you have a legal obligation to provide the
correct figures.

Thank you for you full co-operation.

Your sincerely

Vicky Gray

Bev Seldon, Sunderland City Council

Dear Ms Gray

 

I acknowledge your email requesting a review of your recent FOI request
regarding bullying and harassment.

 

I can confirm that this will be now removed from the directorate in
question and allocated to one of the council’s Solicitors to undertake a
review of the information supplied.  The review will consider whether the
council’s response to your request for information complies with the
Freedom of Information Act.

 

The review normally takes fifteen working days, however should there be a
delay you will be kept informed.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Beverley Seldon

 

 

Beverley Seldon

Customer Services Officer

Tel: 0191 553 7993

Email: [email address]

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Miss Seldon

Thank you for your confirmation that my request for review is being processed.

Could you confirm if it is your usual policy to have requests for internal review carried out by solicitors?

Yours sincerely

Vicky Gray

Bev Seldon, Sunderland City Council

Dear Ms Gray

Thank you for your email.

I can confirm that this is our usual policy that FOI reviews are carried
out by one of the council's solicitors.

If you require any further information, please feel free to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Beverley Seldon

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Darren Rigg, Sunderland City Council

1 Atodiad

Dear Mrs Gray,
 
The first response bounced back from your e mail address. This is the
second attempt to forward this on to you.
 
Regards
 
Darren Rigg
Information Manager
City Solicitors
Sunderland City Council

0191 561 1941
[email address]
 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Jim Wotherspoon
Sent: 28 January 2009 08:54
To: '`[FOI #4554 email]`'
Cc: Bev Seldon
Subject: internal review of Freedom of Information request
Dear Ms Gray,
I am attaching a letter detailing the decision with regards to the
Internal review I have carried out.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Jim Wotherspoon
Solicitor
Sunderland City Council

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Sunderland is aiming to become the most liveable city in the UK.
Visit www.Sunderland.gov.uk for Council services and information.
Business investors can access www.Investinsunderland.co.uk
Visitors to the City should log onto www.Visitsunderland.com

Darren Rigg, Sunderland City Council

Ms Gray,

Freedom of Information Act 2000
Information Commissioner Case Reference Number FS50232573

Sunderland City Council Customer Reference: 862
Sunderland City Council Request Reference: 1290

After receiving correspondence from the Information Commissioner,
regarding your complaint, I am writing to clarify what information can
be provided by Sunderland City Council.

I feel that it would be beneficial for a member of staff to discuss the
issues involved and identify if anything can be disclosed from a refined
or refocused request. If possible could you provide a telephone number
so that we can contact you to discuss this further.

Regards

Darren Rigg
Information Manager
City Solicitors
Sunderland City Council

0191 561 1941
[email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Sunderland is aiming to become the most liveable city in the UK.
Visit www.Sunderland.gov.uk for Council services and information.
Business investors can access www.Investinsunderland.co.uk
Visitors to the City should log onto www.Visitsunderland.com

Dear Ms Rigg

Thank you for your email. I feel it would be more appropriate to discuss what information you can provide via this website.

Yours sincerely

Vicky Gray

Darren Rigg, Sunderland City Council

Ms Gray,

While this request is quite difficult to deal with via e mail the
Council will advise in the best way possible. The difficulty lies in the
fact that there are 14,500 employee files in paper format and the
recording of these incidents is maintained by individual line managers.
I will however ask a member of staff from Personnel to advise as best
they can if anything can be provided. It may be helpful in the meantime
if you can let me know if there is a particular service or profession
within the Council that you are particularly interested in?

Regards

Darren

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Darren Rigg, Sunderland City Council

1 Atodiad

Ms Gray,

I am attaching a letter detailing how your request can be refined to
enable the Council to provide further information.

Regards

Darren Rigg
Information Manager
City Solicitors
Sunderland City Council

0191 561 1941
[email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Darren Rigg

Please provide whatever information you can.

Yours sincerely

Vicky Gray

Darren Rigg, Sunderland City Council

1 Atodiad

Ms Gray,

Please find Sunderland City Council's response attached.

Regards

Darren Rigg
Information Manager
Chief Solicitors
Sunderland City Council
Tel. (0191) 561 1941

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Mr Darren Rigg

Thank you for providing the correct information.

Yours sincerely

Vicky Gray

Darren Rigg, Sunderland City Council

I am currently out of the office until Monday 4th January 2010.

If you are making a request under the Freedom of Information Act please
forward your e mail to [Sunderland City Council request email] and it will
be treated as received at that address.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Sunderland is aiming to become the most liveable city in the UK.
Visit www.Sunderland.gov.uk for Council services and information.
Business investors can access www.Investinsunderland.co.uk
Visitors to the City should log onto www.Visitsunderland.com