City of Melville approves unreasonable behaviour policy to deal with unprecedented service demand

The City of Melville can restrict who the customer may contact within the organisation, what issues will no longer be discussed and how frequently they may contact the City.
The City of Melville can restrict who the customer may contact within the organisation, what issues will no longer be discussed and how frequently they may contact the City.

THE City of Melville has ticked off on a policy to deal with unreasonable behaviour from residents and people who it has interactions with.

The policy Managing Unreasonable Conduct by Customers outlined the types of issues that council officers were facing and was given the green light by the council last night.

An “unprecedented service demand from a small percentage of its community” was claimed as the reason for creating the policy.

Chief executive Shayne Silcox had previously indicated that some of the strategies in dealing with unreasonable behaviour included specifying who the customer may contact within the organisation, what issues will no longer be discussed and how frequently they may contact the City.

At the meeting, three changes were put forward by councillors about the policy including Deputy Mayor Matthew Woodall’s amendment to include a right of appeal, which was approved.

Councillor Karen Wheatland’s amendment to change some of the definitions about who was covered by the policy was also approved.

A motion from councillor Nicholas Pazolli to delete some of the types of unreasonable conduct was hotly debated but was voted down despite discussion about what constituted unreasonable conduct.

After a long debate the councillors then voted in favour of the motion with the amendments eight votes to five.

The Melville Times has received letters from residents, concerned with the impact of the policy.

The council also ticked off on a report about the cost of responding to questions and issues raised by the “top entities” who make queries to the City.

The council has estimated that the cost of responding to these entities was $178,000 in the 14 months to July 31 last year, mainly in staff time.

The report will be sent to Local Government Minister David Templeman as part of the Local Government Act review.