Bullying in Jersey’s government: Arguments, insults and aggression revealed

An independent review into the scale of bullying within Jersey’s public sector has highlighted examples of public arguments, insults being hurled, aggressive behaviour and belittling of staff by senior managers.It also found complainants or witnesses were pressured into changing their stories –describing it as “the Jersey factor”.

HR Lounge’s first report in 2018 found a culture of bullying. Three years on it found things had improved significantly, but that there was much more to do.

It raised repeated evidence of political interference in what should be independent processes, saying it can “place pressure to ensure a particular outcome”.

Investigators found the Case Management Unit, which deals with complaints inside the Government of Jersey, was “overloaded” and needed additional urgent resource.

It described some of the investigations it reviewed as “superficial”, “lacking depth” and “would not stand up to scrutiny”.

The study also raised concerns that made the authors “fidgety” that some managers weren’t tackling bad behaviour.

It added that managers were sometimes too afraid to tackle poor performance for fear of themselves being accused of bullying.

HR Lounge analysed 12 cases and found paperwork was incomplete in nine of them. In six cases missing paperwork had been misfiled, but in three was completely absent.

20 of the original 29 recommendations from 2018 had been implemented, two are due to be, and seven have either been rejected or are yet to be actioned.

The new report makes a series of new recommendations including the need to shift attitudes “from the top down” to drive positive behaviour.

Responding to today's report from HR Lounge, the vice chair of the States Employment Board, Constable Richard Buchanan, promised further action.