Liverpool has become the first council in the country to make UNISON’s End Violence at Work charter part of its commissioning process for third-sector care and housing providers.
The council made the decision last night, after hearing UNISON national officer Gavin Edwards say: “Half of our members working for charities and housing associations tell us they have experienced violence or aggression at work in the past two years.
“This is unacceptable and shows that far too many employers are just telling their staff to put up with it, that it’s ‘part of the job’.”
To qualify for the UNISON Violence At Work Charter mark, employers must:
• have a written violence and aggression at work policy, which is available to all staff, and which covers lone working;
• have a senior manager responsible for implementing these policies;
• take measure to reduce working in isolated buildings, offices or other work areas to a minimum;
• encourage staff to report all violent incidents and make sure they are told how to do this;
• collect and monitor data on violent incidents on a regular and ongoing basis;
• allow union safety reps to access this data, and consult them on solutions to issues relating to violence in the workplace;
• carry out thorough risk assessments for staff placed in vulnerable situations;
• have clear support for staff who are victims of violence at work, so that they know where to turn for advice and support;
• provide training to ensure staff know how to deal with threatening situations;
• make independent counselling services available to staff who are the victims of violence at work, where appropriate.
So UNISON launched an End Violence at Work campaign to say ‘enough is enough’, with key basic actions employers can take to protect their staff at work.
Some 36 individual employers have signed up to the charter so far, including Action For Children, Dimensions and RNIB.
Now Liverpool has become the first commissioner to sign up.
“Taking this step will help reduce the number of violent incidents staff are subjected to and will show all service providers we deal with that violence against staff is not something to be swept under the carpet,” Mr Edwards told councillors.