An independent staff engagement survey has revealed that more than a third of RCVS staff report they have been bullied or harassed in their dealings with council members.

An independent survey has revealed that more than a third of RCVS staff report they have been bullied by members of the council. 

NickThe college conducted a staff engagement survey (SES) from October to November 2012 that showed 37% of its workers felt they had been bullied or harassed in their dealings with council.

Other facts revealed by the survey included:

  • an overall “engagement score” of 59, well below some of the top institutions in the UK.
  • the belief that the college handled change “very badly” and that the organisation lacked a clear sense of direction.

However, it was reports of bullying that gave RCVS chief executive Nick Stace greatest cause for concern when he presented the SES findings to a council meeting.

Offering council a “warts and all” run-through of the survey’s results, he said: “We found that 37% of staff felt bullying or harassment was an issue between staff and council and that deeply worried me and other members of the senior team.

belgravia“If an employer is accused in any way of bullying there can be real repercussions and, in any case, morally and ethically we have a duty to investigate.”

However, Mr Stace said the term “bullying” might be a little misleading, and that even RCVS staff admitted the term may be “a bit strong” in terms of defining what they really meant about their relationship with council.

He said: “They felt at times there was a lack of respect from council to staff and sometimes there was a lack of consideration for work loads.”

The senior team at the college reacted to the SES by setting up focus groups to look at the issues. These found that, despite the negative findings, many members of staff felt their relationships with most members of the 42-strong council were good.

Mr Stace concluded: “The important thing will be how we take these findings forward and we have already made plans around four areas of activity; professional development, leadership and structure, work environment and internal communications.”

  • For the full story by James Westgate, see this week’s Veterinary Times (43.12).
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