Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Highland Council to investigate possible internal bullying culture

Conservative Highland Councillor Andrew Jarvie.
Conservative Highland Councillor Andrew Jarvie.

Highland Council is to look into a reports of a possible culture of bullying within the organisation.

The commitment came after the matter was raised in full council yesterday by Inverness South councillor Andrew Jarvie, who said he had received a number of anonymous approaches from Highland Council employees about bullying.

He said the approaches were so anonymous, either through third parties known to him or via messages from anonymous accounts on social media, that he didn’t have enough information to take them forward to official channels.

He told the meeting he was sure other councillors had received such approaches.

He said: “The ones I’ve received won’t even state which department they work in to give anything to follow and try and improve the circumstances.

“I’m concerned there is the growing possibility of corporate bullying within the council that doesn’t seem to be addressing.

“I fear I do have to raise this in such a manner as we saw how badly it went for NHS Highland.

“When you have a problem the best way to face it, is be honest and do your best to resolve it.

“I have no means myself as a member to move this issue, so if there is indeed an issue that is developing within the council I would rather see us take a proactive approach to resolve anything and open up some kind of confidential line that staff can go to gather these instances.”

Mr Jarvie said what he had been hearing was not so much about individual bullying, but more of a corporate culture of fear and intimidation which put people in fear of their jobs.

He said: “A culture some describe as a pressure not to approach councillors, for example.

“People shouldn’t have to live in fear and worry that they have to either put up with working in their circumstances or worry they lose their job.”

Council convener Bill Lobban asked Mr Jarvie to have a private conversation with senior management, and said a report will be brought back to a future council meeting.

The council’s chief executive Donna Manson said she was disappointed Mr Jarvie had not come to speak to her and questioned the lack of evidence in his claims.

She said: “As chief of staff of the Highland Council I take allegations of bullying incredibly seriously.

“I am enormously disappointed that Councillor Jarvie has stated he is aware of allegations of bullying as he described and has not come to speak with myself, any member of the senior staff or any trade union representatives or the head of human resources to share his concerns.

“And I have to question why this matter has been raised in this way today because I do not believe it is in the best interests of staff as there is no evidence to support what has been said.

“I would now ask that Councillor Jarvie contacts myself or the head of HR  as a matter of urgency to share his concerns.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in