Council Staff Told to Declare 'Close Personal Relationships'

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Farmer

A COUNCIL is set to tell staff that "intimate behaviour during work time" could be "gross misconduct" and lead to "disciplinary action".

Staff at Fenland District Council, which is based in March, Cambridgeshire, must declare any "close personal relationship" with a colleague to their manager "in writing", under a proposed new policy.

Personnel bosses should be also told and "the information declared" will be "recorded on the personal files of both employees", says the plan.

The council would reserve to right to "elect to transfer" one or both employees involved to a "job in another team", proposals add.

Councillors have been recommended to approve the Draft People Policy: Relationships at Work - which was drawn up by Ms Sam Anthony, the council's head of human resources and organisational development - at a meeting later this month. "Fenland District Council recognises that employees who work together may form personal friendships and in some cases close personal relationships,'''' says the policy.

"While the council does not wish to interfere with these personal relationships, it is necessary for the council to ensure that all employees behave in an appropriate and professional manner at work."

It adds: "Intimate behaviour during work time is not acceptable, and this applies during all working time (not flexed off time), both on and off Council sites. …