Following a national launch in London last month, Serco is now rolling out its Respect and Protect campaign across other contracts delivering local services around the country. Recently, Bisham Abbey, the National Sports Centre, and the Chiltern & Wycombe contract launched their campaigns at an event attended by Serco Group Chief Executive, Rupert Soames, and Serco UK & Europe CEO, Kevin Craven, along with representatives from Sport England, Chiltern and Wycombe District Councils, unions and the police.
Serco’s employees deliver a range of front-line local services across the UK, including waste and recycling collection, street cleaning and landscaping, parking enforcement, call handling, leisure centre management and providing cycle hire schemes.
In the last year alone, Serco employees delivering these services were subjected to 350 reported incidents of unacceptable behaviour, including assault, threats with weapons and verbally abuse. These incidents have included:
- employees threatened with knives and on one occasion a gun,
- leisure centre employees being physically attacked and verbally abused,
- call centre employees suffering insults, verbal intimidation, abuse and threats.
- a number of occasions where waste and recycling collection teams have been subjected to assault as well as abuse and threats, from irate and disgruntled motorists.
- reckless and dangerous driving on pavements, around refuse vehicles, resulting, in collisions with employees.
- lone workers, including parking enforcement officers and street cleaners regularly been the recipients of unwarranted threats, assaults and foul language.
Respect and Protect is a campaign, which aims to highlight the issue of staff suffering from verbal and physical abuse from members of the public, and to greatly reduce the number of incidents.
Rupert Soames, Serco Group Chief Executive said:
“This campaign has the full support of every senior leader at Serco. It is simply not acceptable for people to endure any form of physical or verbal abuse, while carrying out their work. The zero tolerance approach created by this campaign will ensure more incidents are reported, with no-one feeling they should have to accept this type of anti-social behaviour. We will work with our partners and enforcement agencies to support our employees; they deserve to be respected and protected and we must collectively do all we can to ensure that everyone goes home safely.”
A Charter of Protection has been agreed between Serco and its customers, including the many local authorities it works with, as well as respective unions and the police force. The Charter aims to raise awareness and increase understanding of violence, aggression and abuse at work, and to provide a framework of response to identify, prevent and manage such issues. These measures include fostering a culture of zero tolerance, encouraging reporting, supporting police investigations where appropriate, and non-acceptance of unwarranted behaviour, together with specific training and support.