Guidance

How the Adjudicator's Office deals with unacceptable actions

Find out what unacceptable or unreasonable actions are and how we approach them.

People may act out of character in times of trouble or distress. There may have been upsetting or distressing circumstances leading up to your complaint to the Adjudicator’s Office, and we acknowledge that you may feel strongly about your complaint.

We consider actions that result in unreasonable demands on our office or unreasonable behaviour towards our staff to be unacceptable. It is these actions that we aim to manage under this policy.

Unacceptable or unreasonable actions

Examples of unacceptable or unreasonable actions (either in person or in writing) include:

  • being aggressive or violent
  • shouting
  • being abusive
  • making allegations that are not true
  • making threats
  • refusing to accept decisions or repeatedly arguing points with no new supporting evidence
  • constantly changing the basis of the complaint
  • insisting on dealing with a particular member of staff or the Adjudicator even when it’s not necessary
  • secretly recording meetings and telephone conversations
  • submitting false documents

What we would do if you are behaving in an unacceptable and unreasonable way

If your actions make staff feel threatened, the Adjudicator’s Office will not carry on with your complaint and will stop all direct contact with you. All incidents of physical violence (including threats) will be reported to the police.

If you’re aggressive over the phone, our staff will stop the call and we may only liaise with you in writing in the future.

We’ll tell you if your actions are unacceptable, and explain why. We’ll also give you the chance to change your behaviour before we take any action.

In exceptional cases, we reserve the right to refuse to consider a complaint or future complaints from you. We will take into account the impact on you and also whether there would be a broader public interest in considering the complaint further.

All incidents of unacceptable actions are recorded and kept on file.

How the Adjudicator’s Office lets you know about their decision

If your actions make a member of staff feel threatened or abused, you will be told immediately.

If we decide that we need to restrict contact with you, we’ll write to you to tell you and we’ll tell you how you should contact us in future. You have the right to ask for a review of this decision.

How you can request a review of the Adjudicator’s Office decision

You can request a review of the decision to restrict contact. The Adjudicator’s Office will only consider arguments that relate to the restriction and not to the complaint made to us, or the decision to end a complaint.

Examples of when a decision can be reconsidered:

  • you’re saying that your actions were wrongly identified as unacceptable
  • the restriction:
    • is disproportionate
    • could impact on you because of your personal circumstances

A senior member of staff who was not involved in the original decision will consider the request for a review. They have discretion to change or remove the restriction as they think best.

They will make their decision based on the evidence available to them. They must advise the decision to you in writing (or alternative format, if written communication is not the most appropriate form) that either the restricted contact arrangements still apply or a different course of action has been agreed.

Read the full version of The Adjudicator's Office – unacceptable actions policy (PDF, 317KB, 4 pages)

Published 17 July 2014