Vexatious, persistent and abusive behaviour policy
In cases where a complainant feels that the service they have received has fallen short of the high standards we set for our organisation, their complaint will be investigated in accordance with our published complaints policy and procedure. Where a matter does not meet the definition of a complaint, such as an appeal against a council tax decision, this policy will still apply if the contact is considered to be vexatious, persistent or abusive.
If a customer is persistently abusive when they contact our officers or persistently makes contact to discuss a matter or raise further matters and this is proving time consuming and disruptive, the following steps will be taken to deal with this:
- The employee or service manager or above will contact the customer either by phone, in writing or by email to explain why their behaviour is causing concern and ask them to moderate their behaviour. This contact will explain the actions that we may take if the behaviour does not change.
- If the disruptive behaviour continues, a service manager will write to the complainant advising them of further actions. The letter will contain information about the procedures that have been put in place to deal with the customer.
Any restriction that is imposed on the customer’s contact with us will be appropriate and proportionate and the customer will be advised of the period of time the restriction will be in place for. Restrictions will be tailored to deal with the individual circumstances of the customerand may include:
- Refusing to take further contact from the complainant by telephone except through a third party e.g. solicitor/councillor/friend acting on their behalf.
- Refusing to accept emails from the customer insisting instead that they correspond by letter.
- Banning the customer from accessing any of our offices except by appointment.
- Requiring contact to take place with one named member of staff only.
- Restricting telephone calls to specified days / times / duration.
- Requiring any personal contact to take place in the presence of an appropriate witness.
- Letting the customer know that we will not reply to or acknowledge any further contact from them on a specific topic or complaint (in this case, a designated member of staff should be identified who will read future correspondence).
- Restricting or even denying social media users access to our sites.
- Refusing to make home visits, or making these only by staff attending in pairs.
The fact that a complainant is judged to be abusive, threatening, or unreasonably persistent and has had restrictions imposed on contact previously, will be recorded centrally within the Customer and Transformation Team.