|South Lanarkshire Council records drop in staff attacks|
|Written by The Rutherglen Reformer|
|Thursday, 19 July 2012|
ATTACKS on council workers in South Lanarkshire fell by over 15 per cent last year. Figures released at an executive committee last week showed a total of 262 reported incidents, none of which were classed as “major”, during 2011/12.
The figures included 124 physical attacks on teachers and education workers as well as a further 21 verbal assaults.
That is down from a total of 171 incidents involving education staff in 2010/11.
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There was also a drop in attacks on social work employees with 42 physical assaults and 20 verbal, compared with 49 and 28 respectively the year before.
There were eight incidents involving community resources staff (down from 12) and 27 attacks on housing staff (down from 30).
There was an increase in incidents against enterprise resource staff, with 20 recorded attacks compared with 17 the year before.
In total, the council’s 16,000-strong workforce reported 548 accidents or incidents, a drop of 47 compared with the previous year.
It is the second year running the council have reported a drop in attacks on staff.
In 2009/10, the council recorded 760 incidents or accidents, including 299 attacks on teachers alone.
The council put that down to a concerted drive encouraging its workers to report attacks.
But a spokeswoman for South Lanarkshire said this years figures did not suggest workers had gone back to ignoring abusive behaviour.
They said: “We continue to encourage employees to report violent incidents so we can address the root cause and ensure the safety and wellbeing of frontline staff.
“A number of initiatives are ongoing and being developed, and this, together with increased awareness has had a positive impact on the numbers of incidents.”
The report to councillors also showed over 1000 instances of council staff having to be referred to an employee support officer or counselling.
Over three-quarters of the 584 employees referred to the support officer were for personal issues while management made up 93 per cent of the 483 counselling referrals.
Both figures represented a drop from last year.
Absence rates among council workers was 3.8 per cent, the same as 2010/11.