Acceptable Behaviour Policy
Mr Khan understands that people may act out of character in times of trouble or distress. There may have been upsetting or distressing circumstances leading up to a constituent approaching our office.
However, Mr Khan will not tolerate behaviour nor actions that result in unacceptable or excessive demands on his staff.
This may include actions or comments directed at a third party.
We’ll give you a chance to change your behaviour before we stop helping you – unless your behaviour threatens the safety of our staff or other people.
Definition of Unacceptable Behaviour
Aggressive or abusive behaviour
This is behaviour or language (written or spoken) that could cause Mr Khan’s staff to feel afraid, threatened or abused. This includes threatening emails, telephone calls, meetings, and comments on social media or elsewhere.
- insulting or degrading or patronising language, including inappropriate banter or innuendo;
- makes serious malicious allegations that individuals have committed criminal, corrupt or perverse conduct without evidence;
- any form of physical violence or threats of physical violence
- derogatory racist, sexist, ageist, homophobic or transphobic remarks;
- comments relating to disability, perceived gender, religion, belief, or any other personal characteristic.
Violence is not restricted to acts of aggression that may result in physical harm. It also includes behaviour or language (whether verbal or written) that may cause staff to feel offended, afraid, threatened or abused.
Unreasonable demands and vexatious complaints
Unacceptable demands may include:
- Repeatedly demanding a response within an unreasonable timescale;
- Insisting on, or refusing to, speak to a particular member of staff, when that is not possible;
- Demanding repeated surgery appointments;
- Making repeated and unnecessary contact during the course of us handling a case, waiting for a reply from a third party or carrying out an investigation;
- Keep raising the same issue when we’ve already helped you or we have told you we can’t help further;
- Refusing to accept a decision when it related to issues where Mr Khan has no direct authority or would be inappropriate for him to be involved (e.g. court decisions).
Unacceptable or persistent levels of contact may include:
- Repeated telephone calls over a short period, for example, a high number calls in one day or week;
- Lengthy telephone calls repeating the same points;
- High volumes repetitive correspondence by email or post;
- unnecessarily or excessive copying Mr Khan into emails to third parties.
It is not acceptable to knowingly provide Mr Khan with incorrect or false information, and doing so prevents his office from successfully dealing with your case.
- recording telephone discussions and publishing the information online or via social media;
- contacting staff using their personal details or social media presence including Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn;
- publishing personal, sensitive or private information about staff online or on noticeboards or newsletters.
How will we respond to unacceptable behaviour
We do not expect our staff to tolerate unacceptable behaviour when communicating with constituents.
When this happens on the telephone, letter or email, we have the right to:
- place callers on hold;
- end the call;
- not reply to an abusive letter or email.
In person, for example at a surgery or our office, we have the right to ask you to leave.
Before taking such action, we will always warn constituents that they are behaving in an unacceptable way to give them the chance to change their behaviour. However, a warning will not be given in extreme cases to protect our staff, for example, when a serious threat is made.
Where these circumstances arise, we will take the following steps:
- we’ll ask constituents to modify their behaviour and explain why;
- if the behaviour continues to be unacceptable, our employees will remove themselves from the situation. If the communication is by telephone, the caller will be told that the call will be ended;
- a record of the incident. In all cases, Mr Khan or his representative will investigate the situation and decide what action to take. This could include limiting a constituent’s contact with us;
- we’ll refer the matter to the police where a criminal offence has been threatened or committed.
Limiting contact may include:
- Appointing a specific point of contact for the constituent;
- Communicating only in writing or via a representative;
- No longer making surgery appointments for a constituent;
- Deciding not to proceed in a case when behaviour has been unacceptable;
- Ending all contact with a constituent.
Where a decision to limit contact has been made, then Mr Khan will inform the constituent in writing.
How we will take account of our duties under the Equality Act
Mr Khan makes sure that his office meets the requirements of the Equality Act 2010. This includes making sure we consider adjustments for people with protected characteristics.
We understand that some people may have difficulty expressing themselves or communicating clearly and/or appropriately. We will always consider the needs and circumstances that we have been made are aware of, before deciding how best to manage the situation. This will include making reasonable adjustments.
Examples of reasonable adjustments might include:
- Using a different method of communication;
- providing written communication in large print, coloured text, or translated to another language;
- giving clear warnings if conversations become unproductive and allowing constituents to opportunity to modify their behaviour before ending a call.
However, this does not mean we will tolerate abusive language, violence, shouting, or other unacceptable behaviour or actions.
If an individual with a protected characteristic becomes the subject of a restriction under this policy, we will consider whether the restriction may affect them more than someone without that characteristic. If this is the case, we may make different arrangements so they can still receive support from Mr Khan.