Claims that bullying of workers is rampant

SOCIAL workers with Neath Port Talbot Council claim bullying and harassment is rampant within the department.

Staff are also reportedly struggling to cope with a massive workload caused by having many colleagues either suspended or on long-term sick caused by stress.

One social worker, who did not want to be named for fear of repercussions, said: “Unison carried out a survey of all social services staff, and it found that bullying, harassment and overwork were rife in social services.

“There are seven people on suspension on full pay and the union is looking into that.

“We also have quite a lot of people on long-term sick because of harassment.

“Agency workers have been given until August to sign up with the authority or leave, because they are so expensive.

“A lot have left already and the council cannot recruit anyone because of its policies.”

The social worker claimed the bullying and harassment was still going on. “It’s rampant,” he said.

“It’s a horrible place to be. None of us wants to work there. Sick levels are going up and the workload is ridiculous.

“The council is now on the verge of having special measures imposed by the Welsh Government. I think that would be far better for the service, as special measures have helped in Swansea and Rhondda Cynon Taf.”

Unison branch chairman Mark Fisher said: “The survey did identify issues of bullying and harassment, staff turnover and high caseloads.

“We are arranging a meeting with senior management to address those concerns and move forward for the sake of the authority and our members.”

Social services director Tony Clements said: “The council’s social services are not on the verge of special measures.

“There are a range of issues that the new management team has been addressing in recent months including the high levels of demand on children’s services.

“Some good progress has been made; but there is more work to be done. The Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales is fully engaged in this work as are members and senior officers.

“There is active and positive engagement with Unison in taking forward the improvements we are making and there are also a range of new arrangements that have been put in place to enable any member of staff to raise concerns directly with the interim head of service.”