Thanet council launches ‘respect’ campaign after incidents of abuse against staff

Respect campaign

Thanet council has launched a campaign to respect its staff after incidents of verbal, online and physical abuse.

The council says there have been incidents of verbal and online abuse of its staff in recent months and even instances of physical abuse.

The new campaign will remind the public that council staff don’t deserve to be shouted at, or worse, as they go about their jobs.

Running throughout the summer holidays, the campaign is part of the wider Respect Protect Enjoy message that the council has been sharing since April, with the flaest focus on respect for council staff.

The campaign features photographic portraits of frontline staff, all are Thanet residents. The aim is to highlight that people doing these jobs are individuals, who live locally, and take pride in the area, as well as in their jobs. The images which are accompanied by the message ‘no excuse for abuse’ aims to outline a stark reminder that this kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable.

While the campaign features frontline staff, the message relates to all staff members and all forms of abuse, including abusive phone calls to staff in a range of different teams and comments on social media. Thanet District Council says its social media accounts are managed and monitored by real people who are simply trying to do their jobs.

Cllr Ash Ashbee, Leader of Thanet District Council said: “Council staff provide essential services for our  local area and yet at times they have become a target for frustrations. As we head into the holiday season and as our streets, beaches and open spaces get busier, no one should have to tolerate abuse while simply doing their job.

“We know that the vast majority of people are respectful and understand how hard our staff work, under difficult circumstances. The immense outpouring of kindness and appreciation during the initial lockdown period made a real difference to morale.

“We also know that when people choose to take their anger out on our staff, by shouting at them on the phone, in the street or leaving abusive comments on social media that this kind of behaviour really takes its toll. These are people who are simply doing their jobs who should be treated as you would wish to be treated yourself, not just during a pandemic but all of the time.

“So, before taking any action please think about the person behind the uniform, or on the other end of the phone. It’s someone’s family member, or best friend. There is absolutely no excuse or reason for anyone to be abused in any way.”

The campaign will feature on all the council’s social media channels, at various sites across the district as well as on council vehicles, including the large waste and recycling trucks that visit every town and village in Thanet.

Thanet District Council says every member of its staff should be able to conduct their job without fear of being abused and the authority will report any matters to the police.

11 Comments

  1. Isn’t this the same Thanet Council which is run by a Chief Executive that an independent investigator found substantial evidence showing bullying behaviour towards her own staff ? This was in the public domain.

    Surely I must have that wrong as that would be a case of huge double standards given they now want everyone else to respect their staff ?

  2. so when you go to the effort of sending in an FOIA and then get targeted by TDC staff as a nuisance should we report that to the police?
    Asking for a friend

  3. TDC ought to look behind their own desks at the top, before chucking blame on to Public. Top Officers lack common sense and shame. We urgently need a new chain of Command.

  4. I agree with the intention of this campaign, but sense in all my engagement with TDC employees that the bullying from well above them is as bad as the abuse they may experience from some of the public. Both are unacceptable. Many seem to be in daily fear for their jobs and that leads to other issues and performance well below what they would wish to deliver. Having said that, there are some in our community who’s default position is disrespect for anything to do with TDC, even for those democratically elected to represent us. Without mutual respect, we are achieving far less than we desperately need to.

    • Hear! Hear! There should be another campaign to make senior officers at TDC respect their staff and the public.

  5. It’s always the ones that run these “respect” campaigns that show the least respect themselves.

    TDC are having a laugh here. The culture there is shocking – much like other local organisations- Canterbury Christchurch University being another particularly bad one even though they’ve abandoned Thanet now – who constantly run mental health awareness and respect campaigns whilst treating staff and students terribly…. All these things are stupid PR campaigns and have no substance at all

  6. The telephones at TDC are enough to make the most passive person go berserk. The recorded voice sounds like a child playing games or reading a bedtime story on and on and on. FFS employ staff to simply answer the phone and put the call to the department the caller wants. Better still publish the telephone numbers of each department so callers can phone direct. Abuse to staff is normally caused through frustration of bad service.

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