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Bullying and Harassment Policy – Family and visitors


Policy statement

We believe in a zero tolerance approach towards bullying and harassment of our staff in the workplace. This means that we are committed to providing a working environment free from harassment and bullying and ensuring that all staff are treated with dignity and respect.

What is harassment?

Harassment is any unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. A single incident can amount to harassment.

Unlawful harassment may involve conduct of a sexual nature (sexual harassment), or it may be related to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. Harassment is unacceptable even if it does not fall within any of these categories.

A person may be harassed even if they were not the intended “target”. For example, a person may be harassed by racist jokes about a different ethnic group if the jokes create an offensive environment.

What is bullying?

Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour involving the abuse or misuse of power that can make a person feel vulnerable, upset, humiliated, undermined or threatened. Power does not always mean being in a position of authority, but can include both personal strength and the power to coerce through fear or intimidation.

Our policy

Any form of bullying or harassment towards our staff is completely unacceptable. This includes both single and repeated instances of bullying and / or harassment.

If a member of staff reports that they have been bullied or harassed, their view is crucial because what one person may find acceptable another may not.

We will treat any form of harassment or inappropriate behaviour which causes offence to our staff very seriously, regardless of whether the bullying and / or harassment was intentional. Such behaviour may lead to appropriate action being taken, such as restrictions being placed on visitor access to Orchard Trust or the placement ceasing.

Examples of unacceptable behaviour include but are not limited to:

  • Spreading malicious rumours or insulting someone.
  • Telling lies.
  • Picking on or regularly undermining someone.
  • Creating division within the Trust or between members of a team.
  • Repeated and unreasonable demands on the time of management or staff.
  • Offensive language, swearing.
  • Ridiculing or demeaning someone – setting them up to fall or fail.
  • Exclusion or victimisation.
  • Derogatory remarks.
  • Unfair treatment.
  • Overbearing or intimidating behaviour.
  • Sexual harassment – unwelcome remarks such as jokes, innuendos, touching, standing too close, display of offensive materials.
  • Discrimination or harassment relating to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.


Our responsibilities

  • We promote an environment where no one is harassed or victimised.
  • All management staff are aware of this policy and aim to ensure that all staff are treated fairly and that no one is harassed or victimised.
  • All staff are aware of this policy and can talk to management if they feel that they are being bullied or harassed.
  • All staff will be observant and alert to any kind of behaviour which could amount to bullying or harassment.

Staff complaints of bullying or harassment by visitors or families

We will investigate staff complaints in a timely and confidential matter. The investigation will be conducted by a person with appropriate experience and no prior involvement in the complaint. The investigation should be thorough, impartial and objective and carried out with sensitivity and respect for all parties concerned.

If appropriate, the individual accused of bullying and / or harassment will be spoken to informally to try and resolve the problem, as they may not be aware that their behaviour has caused offence.

However, if this is not successful or if the complaint is sufficiently serious, we will take written statements from all parties involved. The appointed investigator (who may be a member of senior management or an outside agency) will assess the statements and, if necessary, speak to all parties.

If the outcome of the investigation shows that there is a reasonable belief of bullying or harassment, the investigator will determine a suitable outcome for the complaint. This could include (but is not limited to):

  • Asking the individual who has behaved unacceptably to apologise to the member(s) of staff concerned;
  • Placing a limit or restricting the individual’s access to visits;
  • In serious cases, ceasing a client’s placement in order to protect staff.

Responsibilities of the Visitor

  • All visitors must comply with this policy.
  • Visitors must be aware that it is their personal responsibility not to harass, bully or intimidate another individual.
  • Visitors must be aware at all times of the effect their behaviour may be having on clients, staff or other visitors.
  • Visitors must be aware that any complaints relating to their behaviour will be investigated and action may be taken to restrict visits or, in serious cases, to end a client placement in order to protect staff.


If you are not satisfied with the outcome of any decision you may complain to:

Local Government Ombudsman (LGO)

The LGO is fully independent of the CQC.  They deal with individual injustices that people have suffered and the CQC will refer all such complaints to them.  The CQC deals with complaints about registered services as a whole and does not consider individual matters.  They can share information with the CQC but only when deemed appropriate.  The CQC will redirect individual complaints to the LGO, and the LGO will inform CQC about outcomes that point to regulatory failures.

If you cannot use the online complaint form, you can call the helpline on 0300 061 0614. It is open between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday, except on public holidays.

Local Authority-funded Clients

Any Client part or wholly funded by their Local Authority can complain directly to the complaints manager (Adults) who is employed directly via the Local Authority.

Relevant Contacts

Local Authority Complaints Manager (Adults)

Customer Services Team, Gloucestershire County Council
Shire Hall, Westgate Street

01452 427614

Social Services Local Office

To Raise Organisational Concerns, contact:

The Care Quality Commission



Newcastle upon Tyne


Tel. 03000 616161

They will take details of concerns and respond appropriately and proportionately to the information divulged.




Cathy Andrews – Chief Executive Officer

Issue Date: 15/07/2021

Reviewed: July 2022

Reviewed: July 2023

Reviewed: May 2024