Unacceptable Behaviour Policy

PurposeA policy to set out our approach to managing residents who present unacceptable behaviours towards members of Mount Green staff, their agents or contractors.
Applies toAll team members and residents
Date first implemented February 2023
Date approved by Exec TeamNovember 2022
Review Frequency Every Three Years
Service Area Housing Operations

Document Status: This is a controlled document. Any printed copies of this document are not controlled. As a controlled document, this document should not be saved onto local drives but always accessed from the Policy Library

Version History

Revision DateVersion No.Revised byApproved by
October 2022Version 1.0 Assistant Director of Housing Services Senior Leadership

Current Policy Revision

Date revisedOctober 2022
Revised by Assistant Director of Housing Services
Executive approval date November 2022
Next revision due October 2025

1. Policy Statement

1.1. This policy sets out the actions that we will take when residents present unacceptable behaviours, and how employees will be supported when dealing with this type of behaviour.

1.2. It acts as a guide for staff as well as residents who may have had their contact restricted.

2. Policy Principles

2.1. The policy reflects the fact that all residents should be dealt with fairly, honestly, consistently, and appropriately including those whose actions are considered unacceptable. It is however important to recognise that all residents have a right to be heard, understood, and respected. It should also be noted that whilst landlords have a duty to protect employees, they also have obligations towards residents.

2.2. The policy reflects the requirements of the Equalities Act 2010.

3. Implementation

3.1. All residents and staff will be made aware of this policy. The policy will be available on our website. Residents will be made aware of the policy if they start to present unacceptable behaviour.

3.2. Changes to this policy will be communicated to staff who manage unacceptable behaviour.

3.3. All staff who deal directly with residents will be required to read this policy, and to confirm that they have read and understood it.

4. Other Policies

4.1. This policy should be used in conjunction with the following policies:

  • Vulnerable Residents Policy
  • Anti-social Behaviour Policy
  • Complaints Policy
  • Data Protection and Confidentiality Policy

5. Responsibility

5.1. The Customer Experience Manager is responsible for ensuring the guidance in this policy is followed when access restrictions are placed on a resident.

5.2. All staff who deal with residents are responsible for ensuring they have a consistent approach to adhering to this policy and that they seek advice from their manager if they are experiencing unacceptable behaviour from a resident.

5.3. All employees are responsible for feeding back any improvements that could be made to this policy or problems they have found while trying to implement it.

6. Policy Detail

6.1. People may act out of character in times of trouble or distress. There may have been upsetting or distressing circumstances leading up to a complaint. We do not view behaviour as unacceptable just because someone is forceful or determined. In fact, we accept that being persistent can be a positive advantage when pursuing a complaint.

6.2. However, the actions of residents who are angry, demanding, or persistent may result in unreasonable demands on, or unacceptable behaviour towards, Mount Green staff. It is these actions that we consider unacceptable and aim to manage under this guidance. We have grouped these actions under three broad headings:

6.2.1 Aggressive or abusive behaviour

  • Violence is not restricted to acts of aggression that may result in physical harm. It also includes behaviour or language (whether oral or written) that may cause staff to feel afraid, threatened, or abused.
  • Examples of behaviours grouped under this heading include threats, physical violence, personal verbal abuse, derogatory remarks, and rudeness. We also consider that inflammatory statements and unsubstantiated allegations can be abusive behaviour.
  • We expect our staff to be treated courteously and with respect. Violence or abuse towards staff is unacceptable. Mount Green staff understands the difference between anger and aggression. The anger felt by many complainants, for example, involves the subject matter of their complaint. However, it is not acceptable when anger escalates into aggression directed towards staff.

6.2.2 Unreasonable demands and contact overload

  • Residents may make what we consider unreasonable demands on Mount Green through the amount of information they seek or provide, the nature and scale of service they expect, or the number of approaches they make. What amounts to unreasonable demands will always depend on the circumstances surrounding the behaviour and the seriousness of the issues raised by the user.
  • Examples of actions grouped under this heading include demanding responses within an unreasonable timescale, insisting on seeing or speaking to a particular member of staff or refusing to speak to another, continual phone calls, emails, letters or contact via social media, repeatedly changing the substance of the complaint or raising unrelated concerns.
  • We consider these demands as unacceptable and unreasonable if they start to impact substantially on our work, such as taking up an excessive amount of staff time to the disadvantage of other residents or functions.

6.2.3 Unreasonable persistence

  • We recognise that some residents will not or cannot accept that Mount Green is unable to assist them further or provide a level of service other than that provided already. Complainants may persist in disagreeing with the action or decision taken in relation to their case or contact Mount Green persistently about the same issue.
  • Examples of actions grouped under this heading include persistent refusal to accept a decision made in relation to a complaint, persistent refusal to accept explanations relating to what this office can or cannot do, and continuing to pursue a case without presenting any new information. The way in which these residents approach Mount Green may be entirely reasonable, but it is their persistent behaviour in continuing to do so that is not.
  • We consider the actions of persistent complainants and other residents to be unacceptable when they take up what we regard as being a disproportionate amount of time and resources.

7. Managing unacceptable behaviour by residents

7.1. There are very few residents whose actions we consider unacceptable. How we aim to manage these actions depends on their nature and extent. If it adversely affects our ability to do our work and provide a service to others, we may need to restrict a person’s contact with our office to manage the unacceptable action. We aim to do this in a way, wherever possible, which will still allow a resident to process everyday issues. We may:

  • Provide a single point of contact only
  • Limit contact to a single form, i.e. to writing, email or telephone only
  • Limit contact to certain times or to a limited number of times per week or
  • Decline to give any further consideration to an issue unless any additional
    evidence or information is provided
  • Only consider a certain number of issues in a specific period.

7.2. The threat or use of physical violence, verbal abuse, or harassment towards Mount Green employees or their contractors is likely to result in the ending of all direct contact with the perpetrator. Incidents may be reported to the Police. This is a breach of tenancy and will result in tenancy enforcement action. Legal action may be taken against the perpetrator. This will always be the case if physical violence is used or threatened.

7.3. We do not deal with correspondence or other forms of communication which is abusive to staff or contains allegations that lack substantive evidence. When this happens, we will tell the sender that we consider their language offensive, unnecessary, and unhelpful. Whenever possible we will ask them to stop using such language and state that we will not respond to them if they do not stop. We may require future contact to be through a third party, and if they do not agree we will no longer deal with them.

7.4. Mount Green staff will end telephone calls or if the caller is considered aggressive, abusive, or offensive. The staff member taking the call has the right to make this decision, tell the caller that the behaviour is unacceptable, and end the call if the behaviour does not stop.

7.5. When someone repeatedly telephones, visits the office without appointment, sends irrelevant or duplicate documents, or raises the same issues already considered, we may decide to:

  • Only take telephone calls from the user at set times on set days, or put an arrangement in place for only one member of staff to deal with future calls or correspondence from the complainant;
  • Require the person to make an appointment to see a named member of staff before visiting the office, or that the user only contacts the office in writing;
  • Return the documents to the person or, in extreme cases, advise them that further irrelevant documents will be destroyed;
  • Take other action that we consider appropriate. We will, however, always say what action we are taking and why. When a resident continues to correspond on a wide range of issues, and this action is considered excessive, then we will tell them that only a certain number of issues will be considered in a given period, and ask them to limit or
    focus their requests accordingly

7.6. When a resident continues to correspond on a wide range of issues, and this action is considered excessive, then we will tell them that only a certain number of issues will be considered in a given period, and ask them to limit or focus their requests accordingly.

8. Deciding to restrict resident contact

8.1. Mount Green staff who directly experience aggressive or abusive behaviour from a resident when a case is still under consideration should refer this immediately to their manager, who will deal with that behaviour in a manner they consider appropriate to the situation and in line with this guidance.

8.2. With the exception of such immediate decisions taken at the time of an incident, decisions to restrict contact with Mount Green are only taken after careful consideration of the situation by the Assistant Director of Housing Services. Wherever possible, we will give a resident the opportunity to modify their behaviour or action before this decision is taken. Residents will be told in writing why a decision has been made to restrict future contact, the restricted contact arrangements, and the length of time that these restrictions will be in

8.3. A resident can appeal a decision to restrict contact. The Director of Business Operations or other director who was not involved in the original decision will consider the appeal. They will advise the resident in writing either that the restricted contact arrangements still apply or that a different course of action has been adopted.

8.4. We will record all incidents of unacceptable actions by residents. Where it is decided to restrict contact, an entry noting this will be made against the resident’s records on our housing management system.

8.5. A review period will be agreed at the outset of the restricted contact. If the resident’s behaviour has improved at the point of review, consideration can be given to lifting the restriction.

8.6. If it has not improved, an explanation will be provided as to why the restriction will remain in force for a further period pending the next agreed review date.

8.7. Our approach will reflect the requirements of the Equalities Act 2010 and show due regard for an individual’s medical condition and vulnerability such as
mental health issues and learning disabilities. Accordingly, any restrictions imposed on a resident’s contact should recognise and be appropriate to their
individual circumstances.

8.8. All staff must use the guidance of this policy in their approach to managing unacceptable behaviour and when deciding whether to restrict access.

9. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

9.1. For Mount Green, diversity is about respecting people’s individual differences and ensuring that all people that come into contact with us have access to the
same high standards of behaviour and service.

9.2. We are committed to ensuring that no resident will be treated less favourably because of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex or sexual orientation.