Councillors in Aberdeen have been accused of bullying and harassing the local authority’s officers, an independent report has revealed.
The report accuses elected members of partaking in "unacceptable behaviour" in an attempt to influence officials.
The report, compiled by a former inspector of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education, will be discussed at next week’s meeting of the audit and risk committee.
The report states: “Some behaviour from a small number of elected members is unacceptable. This type of behaviour includes councillors in council and committee meetings making critical remarks about officers and the officers’ work.
“These remarks, which can be heard by the public and which are often inaccurate, do not allow officers any right of reply given that they are made in committee. In addition to affecting officers’ dignity at work, they hamper progress and run the risk of reputational damage to the council.
“Other examples have occurred at public meetings which officers were addressing to explain council policy, and involved councillors haranguing officers from the floor of the meetings. Heads of service feel particularly strongly about this type of behaviour, and see it as bullying or harassment.”
The report, which covered the period from December 2011 to January 2012, has offered a number of recommendations for improving working relations between politicians and officials.
This includes customising the national Councillors’ Code of Conduct for Aberdeen City Council.
An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: "The report to be considered by the audit and risk committee next week recognises that sustained and significant progress has been made over the past few years to improve the governance of Aberdeen City Council.
“Working relationships between officers and elected members are generally positive and constructive, as the report states - but as in all large and complex organisations, there is always room for improvement.
“The very fact that the city council commissioned this report demonstrates a clear recognition of the need to make further progress. Officers and elected members are committed to continue to work constructively together to ensure we remain focused on providing the best possible services for our citizens."
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