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The CAA, as a safety regulator, exists to protect those who
choose to fly, and those on the ground underneath aircraft which are
flying. One of our core values in the CAA is ‘Respect for All’. That
describes what we expect from each other within the CAA, and what stakeholders
and consumers can expect when they deal with us. But I firmly believe
‘Respect for All’ should apply equally to our expectations of how people will
deal with the CAA in return. It’s inevitable that our role as a regulator
means that we will not always be popular, but I am very clear that
disagreements do not justify unacceptable behaviour, as we do our very best to
perform a vital public service role. As the Chair of the CAA, I am clear
that all my colleagues have the right to feel safe in undertaking their roles.
In recognition of this, we have created our Unacceptable Behaviour
The vast majority of interactions with my colleagues are
exactly as we would expect, even at times when conversation becomes robust and
challenges to the work we do are posed. But if the proverbial “line is
crossed”, our policy exists to demonstrate how we will act, and that all my
colleagues have the backing of myself, the CAA Board and our Executive
The existence of this policy underlines the value we place
on our people, and their right to work in a safe environment.
Sir Stephen Hillier, Chair CAA, November 2020
Our role in ensuring the aviation industry meets the highest safety standards is challenging and can be divisive. Further, we may on occasion get things wrong. However, we do ask that users of our service are polite to our colleagues.We do not consider behaviour as unacceptable just because someone is assertive or determined. We also understand that people who deal with us may be angry or upset – we will always do our best to help in line with our commitment to providing a high standard of service to everyone we deal with. But we have a duty of care to our employees and a desire to provide a safe working environment. We will not tolerate abuse and will act to protect our people. This applies to everyone our colleagues encounter during the course of our work, including members of the public and those we regulate.
We appreciate that individuals may be frustrated - it is unacceptable if this frustration turns into behaviour that makes a colleague feel offended, afraid, threatened or abused. This may include:
We may respond when unacceptable behaviour occurs, though we will do so in a way that is the minimum required to solve the problem. If our colleagues experience unacceptable behaviour:
Our colleague will tell the individual(s) how their conduct is considered unacceptable and give them the chance to change their behaviour.
All incidents of unacceptable behaviour are recorded and may be referred to the police, if appropriate. For those we regulate, we reserve the right to inform their employer of any instances of unacceptable behaviour.
Dealing with most correspondents is usually straightforward but in a minority of instances, some people may choose to pursue their correspondence or complaint in an unreasonable way that may cause a disproportionate or unjustified level of disruption or distress. Unreasonable behaviour may include the non-acceptance of explanations of what we can or cannot do, repeatedly arguing, or making unfounded accusations. We are aware that holding someone’s behaviour as unreasonable could have consequences for that individual. Therefore, any action taken in response will be proportionate to the nature and frequency of the person’s contact with us. In the event of unreasonable behaviour, we will notify an individual about our concerns and what actions may be taken if that behaviour continued.
We have profiles on various Social Media sites, including Twitter and LinkedIn. We take defamatory behaviour towards the CAA or our people on these websites seriously. Content that we believe to be abusive or unsuitable is escalated for further action, which may include contacting the author, reporting it to the relevant social media company and/or taking legal action.
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