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March, 2015:


From HSE website:

Advice for organisations
What should we be doing as an organisation to tackle bullying and harassment?

Promote a culture where bullying and harassment is not tolerated

This can include:

accept that bullying can occur in any organisation
understand what bullying and harassment are and what the consequences can be
consult and discuss with your staff
devise a policy and ensure your managers and harassment advisors are trained to implement it
promote the policy within the organisation and enforce against the policy

Be aware of the organisational factors that are associated with bullying, and take steps to address them

What is workplace bullying?

Bullying at work can take many forms. It can involve:

ignoring or excluding someone
spreading malicious rumours or gossip
humiliating someone in public
giving someone unachievable or meaningless tasks
constantly undervaluing someone’s work performance

There is no legal definition of workplace bullying. ‘Bullies’ are often – but not always – more senior than the person they are bullying. ‘Bullies’ sometimes target groups as well as individuals.

Responsibility for dealing with bullying and harassment rests with the organisation, and prevention strategies must be organisation-wide. Many organisations adopt a zero tolerance approach. Some factors associated with bullying include:
perceived imbalance of power; few consequences perceived by perpetrator
internal competition; reward systems focused solely on outputs
organisational change

As an organisation, to tackle these factors, you might, for example:

  • encourage a more collaborative, less autocratic management style in your managers
  • encourage staff to attend diversity training
  • publicise your bullying and harassment policy, and explaining the consequences of bullying within the organisation
  • encourage control and choice for staff, as far as possible
  • explore levels of competition between individuals and teams
  • consider alternative incentives to achieving high performance
  • ensure you are confident and comfortable in managing poor performance
  • consult staff regularly and keep them informed during times of change
  • ensure your managers have sufficient support to help them implement the policy

Academic freedom


UCU is currently in discussions with the University about changes to Statute 7. Statute 7 is the part of the university’s rules which covers the processes around dismissal and redundancy, as well as grievance procedures.
The key principle of the present Statute is ‘to ensure that academic staff have freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom, and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions, without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges’.

This statement, protecting academic freedom, will be at the heart of any up-dated version of Statute 7, and UCU’s aim is to ensure that this important principle is adequately supported by detailed practical provisions that protect the interests of our members. We are still some way off a consensus between the sets of negotiators, but once we reach such a position we will take the resulting proposals to members, for consultation and then to be put to a vote before the University takes the changes to the Privy Council for their approval.
It is timely to consider what we all mean by academic freedom, in research and in teaching and its vital place at the heart and soul of the University.

Committee member David Mead had a letter in the THE this week:

Get in touch with your thoughts and comments.