Client Conduct Policy

RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity has a client conduct policy to address any issues of violence, aggression or unacceptable conduct directed towards RFEA members of staff.  RFEA is delivering a clear message to our clients that violence and aggression towards any of our members of staff is unacceptable.

Violence, aggression and unacceptable conduct

Violence and aggression at work can be interpreted as ‘any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work’.

Physical assault is ‘the intentional application of force from one person to another, without lawful justification, resulting in physical injury, personal discomfort or damage to property’.

Non-physical assault or verbal aggression is ‘the use of inappropriate words either verbally or in writing (including social media, emails and webchat) or any other behaviour which causes alarm, distress and/or could be described as harassment’.

Persistent unacceptable conduct refers to behaviour within either one contact or a number of separate contacts over an undefined period of time.

Examples of unacceptable conduct

Our commitment is to deliver excellent service in a space that is welcoming and safe and we ask all our clients for their co-operation in maintaining this environment. RFEA also recognises the importance of striking a balance between providing an opportunity for the lawful expression of views and opinions and unacceptable actions that affect its members of staff.

Some examples of unacceptable conduct in these instances might include, but not limited to:

  • Using any foul, abusive, threatening, intimidating or discriminatory language or behaviour towards members of staff,
  • Harassing and/or bullying members of staff,
  • Disorderly conduct which can include, but is not limited to, causing a disturbance, shouting, causing a nuisance to members of staff, or otherwise hindering the day to day business,
  • Recording or photographing people without their permission.

How we manage unacceptable conduct

Face to face contact

Members of staff are empowered to ask a client to leave the premises or remove themselves from the premises if they feel the client is being aggressive, abusive or offensive. The person dealing with the client has the right to make this decision.

Telephone calls

The use of abusive and offensive language towards members of staff will not be tolerated. Members of staff will end any telephone call if they feel the caller is being aggressive, intimidating, abusive or offensive. The person taking the call is empowered to make this decision. The caller will be advised that their behaviour and/or language are unacceptable and that the call will be politely ended if it continues. The call may also be ended if the client refuses to conclude the conversation and persists in staying on the line. There may be rare occasions when the person involved is unable to give a warning that the call will be ended if the client’s unacceptable behaviour/language continues, in which case they are empowered to end the call immediately.

Correspondence

RFEA will not process any correspondence (email or letter) that is abusive. If communications of this nature are received, we will tell the client that their communication is inappropriate and offensive. The client will be asked to stop corresponding in this way and state that if they do not stop, RFEA will not respond to any further communication from them.

Appropriate Action

RFEA will not accept or tolerate any violence or aggression towards its members of staff and any such act or conduct will result in appropriate action. Where there is a concern about the conduct of clients that may fall within the scope of this policy, the member of staff, or their manager, will, in the first instance, ask the client in writing to modify their conduct.

If a client’s conduct continues to cause concern after being given an initial warning, the issue will be raised with Programme Manager and or Compliance Manager who will take a decision whether to continue support or remove or restrict access to RFEA’s services.

Where a client’s conduct is so extreme that it poses an immediate threat to the health, safety or wellbeing of staff, the client may not receive a warning that access to our services may be restricted. RFEA will however provide written confirmation of its decision to the client, where possible.

Sometimes a client’s conduct can cause significant alarm, distress or concern that a criminal act may have taken or be about to take place. When such situations arise, RFEA will consider reporting the matter to the police or other relevant authorities. We will base our decision on an assessment of risk. The underlying principle will be the need to protect our staff and others from harm or the threat of harm.

In any of the circumstances outlined above it is possible that all direct contact with the client will be ended; they may be removed from accessing support. If RFEA does decide to restrict a client’s access, it may decide to adopt one or more of the following actions (or any other action deemed appropriate):

  • Apply a “warning flag” on the electronic record to classify them as using unacceptable conduct
  • Place time limits on telephone calls and/or contacts
  • Record all telephone calls and/or contacts
  • Arrange for a named member of staff to deal with all calls or correspondence from the client
  • Limit communication to written only
  • Inform the client that their correspondence will only be read (to ensure no new issues have been raised), acknowledged and filed

Review of Policy

This policy is reviewed on an annual basis and amendments will be published on our website.

Last updated: 3 December 2020