Case management policy for councillors - unacceptable behaviour and actions by members of the public

What are unacceptable behaviours and actions?

The following definitions are not intended to cover all possible unacceptable or difficult behaviour by a member of the public; however, they are intended to provide a clear guide to support councillors.

Offensive or insulting behaviour

Behaviour which is rude or unpleasant including repeated use of inappropriate language.

Abusive or threatening behaviour

Behaviour which is threatening or intimidating, either through the use of abusive or threatening language or a clearly threatening manner or tone intended to intimidate. Abusive or threatening behaviour is where a councillor thinks that they have been personally abused or threatened as a result of a member of the public’s behaviour.

Difficult behaviour

This can be exhibited by any person causing the councillor dealing with them difficulty for whatever reason. It is important to note that this may not be due to any unacceptable behaviour by a member of the public. This could be due to them refusing to accept a decision made by us or not agreeing with a policy which is already in place.

Unreasonably persistent contact

Repeated contact with us raising the same issues or a variation of the same issues each time. Taking a 'scatter gun' approach and contacting many different councillors, services and other bodies about the same issue. Unreasonably persistent behaviour could include repeat requests for information and unreasonable or inappropriate use of the councillor's time.

Unreasonable demands

Expecting resolution or response within unreasonable timescales. Members of the public who demand to speak with councillors which would not normally be appropriate for that enquiry or contact.


Failure to afford equal respect to an individual on the basis of disability, gender, race, religion, age, sexuality and marital status.

Please note: where the behaviour is considered to be of a criminal nature, such as harassing or aggressive behaviour that threatens councillor safety and welfare, this may lead to police involvement or legal action. In such cases, the councillor or council may not give the member of the public prior warning of this action.