COUNCILLORS will discuss the report into the bullying of staff at Ryedale District Council (RDC) at meeting this week.

The investigation, which was carried out by Professor John Raine and Eileen Dunstan, has been released following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Gazette & Herald.

It follows a commission by RDC’s overview and scrutiny committee to gather evidence in support of the committee’s investigation into allegations of bullying and mistreatment of staff.

The report found that several interviewees, all from the same department, had recounted in detail some particularly “unpleasant” and “hurtful incidents” they had to endure and in two cases, invoking “suicidal feelings of despair”.

It also found that negative behaviour was also made by elected members with bullying witnessed in council meetings.

In a report to the full council’s budget meeting tomorrow (Thursday), Stacey Burlet, RDC’s chief executive, who joined the authority in 2018, says she had taken every action possible to deal with the issues and a number of strategies have and are being rolled out to support the organisation to eradicate any unwanted behaviours.

She adds that she has apologised to anyone who felt they had experienced bullying or intimidation at work and that a zero- tolerance approach would be taken to these behaviours in the future.

Ms Burlet says: “Our aim is to create an ‘open door’ culture which is proactive, responsive and encourages two-way communications, this includes face-to-face drop in sessions with senior leaders, monthly staff meetings and use of mobile technologies. Management and leadership development sessions are taking place which include sessions on behaviours, healthy organisational cultures and organisational expectations about bullying and intimidating behaviours. This will be mandatory for everyone who manages staff or leads teams of staff.”

She adds: “ A senior leadership team session will be held to discuss the themes arising from the Raines and Dunstan report. This will focus on lessons to be learned and to determine any specific actions for personal development plans.”