6 Development, implementation and communication of policy and procedure
6.1 Policy development
Each organisation's goal should be to develop a culture and Code of Conduct in which bullying and harassment are known to be unacceptable and where individuals are confident enough to raise concerns without fear of ridicule or reprisal. Everybody needs to feel responsible for challenging all forms of inappropriate behaviour including bullying and harassment and for upholding personal dignity. Developing and implementing preventative policies and procedures creates a climate of greater confidence to challenge bullying and harassment.
To achieve successful implementation, any policy/procedure must be developed in partnership with staff and trade union/professional organisation representatives. Thereafter, it must be communicated to all employees to ensure that they:
- Understand what the organisation regards as appropriate and inappropriate behaviour;
- Know their rights and personal responsibilities under the policy;
- Understand the commitment from senior management;
- Are aware of the names of Confidential Contacts and how to contact them; and
- Are aware of the informal and formal procedures which are in place to try to resolve issues of bullying/harassment.
An effective policy is one that is agreed as a result of partnership working between staff, trade union/professional organisations and employers and is widely known and put into practice. The legal basis of the policy should be made clear as well as the intention to provide a workplace in which all employees are valued equally and treated with dignity and respect.
Commitment to the bullying and harassment policy must be demonstrated from the Board and Area Partnership Forum and cascaded throughout the organisation, utilising partnership working. It is not the responsibility of one person to communicate the principles of the bullying and harassment policy, but every employee must take ownership of it. Line managers' objectives should include communicating the bullying and harassment policy to their staff.
Organisations must promote their bullying and harassment policy in a proactive way using, for example, posters, notice boards and leaflets, as well as pledge cards which summarise the points at a glance and can be used as a quick reference guide. These should also inform employees what to do in the first instance if they think they are being bullied/harassed (for example, keeping a diary of incidents and sharing their concerns with a Confidential Contact).
This will help ensure all employees are aware of the policy - from their induction period onwards - of what constitutes bullying/harassment and what action they should take if they are being bullied/harassed or if they witness a colleague being bullied/harassed. An open communication network is essential to enable employees to report any issues.
Organisations should consider introducing a Code of Conduct, containing a clear and open declaration of basic rights at work and describing preferred behaviour when working together. It should set out the way in which individuals and the organisation will value each other, communicate, collaborate, take responsibility and support one another. This can be displayed as a poster throughout the organisation.
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