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Abuse of staff on the rise


Westland District Council prioritises the safety and wellbeing of its staff and contractors. Recently staff have experienced abuse from members of the public when out in the community.

“It is completely unacceptable to abuse Council staff and contractors in the street or anywhere else,” says Mayor Helen Lash. “As a Council, we support people to have free speech. Community members have been peacefully protesting outside the Council building, which is their right. However, approaching staff to comment on their work or appearance crosses a line. No one deserves to be treated poorly because of their workplace. Staff and contractors are entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of their time outside the workplace, just like any other person.

We have also observed a significant increase in social media comments directed at Council staff, which is inappropriate as staff do not make decisions for the community. They are simply carrying out the directions of elected members or the requirements imposed on Councils by the Government. The only people who make the decisions are the elected members. If people have issues or concerns about those decisions, they should be speaking to me or an elected member for their ward.”

“Instances of staff abuse are taken very seriously by me and the Executive Team,” says Chief Executive Simon Bastion. “We are reporting any incidents to the local police for them to deal with appropriately. There is no excuse for this kind of behaviour. Our staff have the right to feel safe away from the offices. Any abuse on Council premises or away will not be tolerated.”

Residents with questions or concerns can find the contact details of the Mayor and elected members on the Council website. The Council encourages direct and open communication with elected members. Council agendas and minutes are available online, and residents can subscribe to receive Council news and updates.


Media enquiries to:

Emma Rae, Strategy and Communications Advisor