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Code of Conduct in Libraries 


1. Policy Statement
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council library staff and users have the right to a non-abusive, safe and friendly environment.  A set of Library Bye Laws and an Acceptable Use Policy for public PCs exists to protect all staff and users whilst on library premises.  It is important that libraries are used in an appropriate way to provide a positive experience for all but should this not be the case senior staff must be made aware about all incidents causing concern.

2. Incidents involving members of the public 
Any incidents involving staff or users that relate to either physical/verbal abuse or contravene the library bye laws or acceptable use policy must be reported using the standard incident reporting form.  The report must contain a full and accurate record of the incident and include details of any witnesses to the event.
 
Types of incidents may include:
  • Any incident which results in fear of personal safety either of staff, users or others and/or security of library property
  • Threatening behaviour towards staff or members of the public including disorderly behaviour, violent, abusive or obscene language
  • Vandalism to the library property
  • Physical attacks on staff or members of the public
  • All cases of injury to staff or public
  • Any member of the public who is asked to leave the premises
  • Any racially motivated incident
  • Viewing unacceptable material on a public PC
 
This list is not exhaustive but is intended to provide guidelines around unacceptable behaviour in the library.

The purpose of incident forms is:
  • To maintain an accurate record of incidents and witnesses in case of any future action
  • For senior staff to monitor staff and building security and take action where there is felt to be an unreasonable risk 
  • For senior staff to monitor any health and safety issues and take action to ensure a safe environment is provided for staff and public 

3. Categorising incidents 
Incidents in libraries are challenging but it is acknowledged that some, whilst unacceptable behaviour, are of a more minor nature than others which are serious and require immediate and decisive action i.e. prohibition. Nonetheless all incidents will be recorded on the individual’s library record.
All incidents logged on an incident reporting form will be considered according to their severity.  This is a judgement of the Senior Library Managers on the facts contained in the incident form.  
 
Minor Incidents
An incident is felt to be minor when it contravenes the Library Bye Laws or Acceptable Use Policy for public PCs but does not pose a substantial risk to staff or users and does not warrant an immediate prohibition from use of the library. It will however lead to exclusion from Open+ membership.
 
Serious Incidents
A more serious incident is one which will be treated with the utmost urgency and seriousness as this type of incident potentially puts staff or users at risk and is totally unacceptable behaviour within a library building.  Additionally a more serious view will be taken if there are repeated incidents by the same perpetrator.  Senior Managers may need to investigate these incidents to gain a full understanding as potentially the decision on these incidents will be an immediate prohibition from using any Tameside Library.

4. Senior Manager Action 
Upon receipt of an incident form the Head of Service will take appropriate action as follows:
 
Minor Incidents
A warning letter will be written and either sent via the postal service or hand delivered for all incidents where the perpetrator is known to the service.  This letter will include details of the incident, that the incident will be recorded on the library account for a period of 12 months and the fact that this incident may affect their continued use of the library service in the future.  The perpetrator will be offered the right to respond to the allegations against them within 7 days of the letter.  If representations are made by the perpetrator these will be investigated and a determination made as to whether the incident is to be recorded on the perpetrators record or not.  The perpetrator will be advised of the outcome of the investigations in writing.
 
Serious Incidents/accumulation of minor incidents
Managers are committed to taking every step possible to minimise unacceptable behaviour, and in serious or persistent cases the Head of Library Service may exclude a member of the public from Library Services.  This is a very serious step and not taken lightly.
 
In this situation a letter will be written and either sent via the postal service or hand delivered for all incidents where the perpetrator is known to the service.  This letter will include details of the incident and a prohibition from entering any Tameside library for a period of up to 12 months. The perpetrator will be offered the right to respond to the allegations against them within 7 days of the letter.  If representations are made by the perpetrator these will be investigated and a determination made as to whether the perpetrator is to be prohibited or not.  The perpetrator will be advised of the outcome in writing.
 
Should a person enter any library after a prohibition has been issued they will be asked to leave and failure to do so will result is assistance being called to remove the person from the library premises.
 
After the determined prohibition period has expired the perpetrator will be allowed to use the library service provided they have abided by the terms of the prohibition.
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