The ABC
continues to struggle with work place harassment and bullying issues, despite
having a policy “in place” for just the past 17 months. Work
place bullying is one of the ABC’s dirty little secrets that management at all
levels, has been forced to face up to.

ABC
management was given a rough time in Senate Estimates hearings in
Canberra last May when there was a string of
questions about bullying claims in Western
Australia, Adelaide and Melbourne. Some
were answered on the day and others were taken on notice and
then answered in writing.

The ABC made much of the policy it introduced in the middle of 2004,
arguing that its problem was mostly about poor training
among staff. But the national broadcaster, being a bureaucrat and an
accountant, is leaving no stone unturned to make sure that the policy is
working.

So consultants have been called in, according to a
statement issued today by Mr
Balding:

Dear
Colleagues

As staff would be
aware, the ABC introduced its anti-bullying policy in May 2004 with a commitment
to providing a work environment that is free from bullying and harassment for
all staff. I am determined that the principles outlined in this policy in
respect of our work environment will be achieved. As part of this commitment the
mandatory training program, Creating a Better Workplace
is continuing so as to ensure all staff attend the
program.

Given the importance of
the policy initiative and the level of interest, I felt it appropriate and
timely for a comprehensive review of the ABC’s anti-bullying policies and
procedures to be undertaken by an independent consultant. In early August I
asked the Chief Operating Officer to engage an appropriate organisation to undertake such a review.

After considering a
number of prospective consultants, I am pleased to announce that the ABC has
this week appointed IHR Australia, a Human Resources consultancy firm to
independently review the ABC’s anti-bullying policy and procedures. (this is the website)

Although the review
will also look into issues previously raised in relation to our anti-bullying
policy, importantly, it will not reinvestigate or investigate any individual
matter which is before a tribunal or which may potentially come before a
tribunal. The ABC has a number of investigations into allegations of bullying
already underway and these will not be affected in this independent
review.

Staff wishing to
contribute to the review can do so by making contact with their local Human
Resources representative. The three unions (CPSU, APESMA and the MEAA) will also
be invited to contribute to the review.

The results of the
review will be communicated to staff on completion.

So no current complaints will be looked at,
just the anti-bullying policy.
Why is that? And what’s behind this review? And how much
will it cost? The ABC’s consultants bill must be
amazing.

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