Last month, a report published by HR Lounge Ltd found that the level of complaints about bullying and harassment in the States was ‘significant’ and that there was a culture of fear about reporting grievances, with complainants claiming that they had been made to feel ‘leper-like’.
The report made 29 recommendations to improve practices to tackle the issue, including introducing new regular training sessions for managers and establishing a confidential hotline for complainants.
During States questions this week, Deputy Jess Perchard asked Senator Tracey Vallois, who chairs the States Employment Board, whether she intended to draw up a written action plan and timeline to tackle the bullying culture identified by the report.
Senator Vallois said that she was ‘deeply saddened’ that States employees had endured bullying and wished to ‘restate the fact that it is not acceptable’ within the public sector or elsewhere.
She added: ‘The States Employment Board is actually scheduled to meet for the first time under my chairmanship on Monday 23 July. The previous board accepted the recommendations [of the HR Lounge report]. I have met with officers to discuss priorities and can confirm that they will be presenting a plan and timetable, as requested by the previous board, for approval at the meeting.
‘I am advised that this will cover a revised organisational framework for developing and managing future cases and contain proposals for an independent whistle-blowing service, among other initiatives.
‘Since the new board has reviewed and approved the action plan, I undertake to publish the plan on gov.je to make it accessible to both Members and the public.’