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Volume 471: debated on Tuesday 29 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many cases of bullying were reported in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in each of the last 12 months. (182843)

The NIO has procedures in place for dealing with complaints of harassment and bullying. Where staff wish complaints to be dealt with informally, they can approach their line management, but no central record is maintained of such approaches. During the last 12 months there has been only one formal complaint of bullying reported in the NIO core, and none in its agencies.

Until recently, all staff joining the NIO underwent mandatory equal opportunities awareness training as part of their induction, which included guidance on appropriate behaviour in the workplace. This has been replaced by a new diversity course, concentrating on treating others with dignity, which is also currently being rolled out to the whole Department.