Brighton and Hove Library Services has a responsibility for the care and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and everyone entering our buildings. This means that every effort is made to ensure that libraries offer a safe and welcoming space for everyone.  

The purpose of this policy is to describe how users who break library byelaws can be excluded from Library services. The length of the exclusion can vary according to the severity of the behaviour.  

This policy will:  

  • outline how we will create a safe and enjoyable environment for all service users, volunteers and staff 
  • ensure the safety and welfare of staff by managing the risk of violence by users towards them
  • remove users who are violent, unruly, threatening or causing disorder or harassment 
  • demonstrate sensitivity to users who have challenging behaviour that may arise from other circumstances e.g., some disabilities / learning difficulties, home and personal circumstances where the behaviour is not necessarily deliberate. 
  • ensure that all incidents will be considered on a case-by-case basis and decisions made by a member of the senior leadership team 

Our commitment

Staff will be provided with appropriate support and training to deal with user behaviours and maintain their own wellbeing, both physical and mental. We will behave in a consistent and fair way and will implement penalties and sanctions for inappropriate behaviour. We will work with the police and other relevant stakeholders to keep our staff and users safe.  

The policy is based on Brighton & Hove City Council’s library byelaws and applies to all users of Brighton & Hove Library Services, whether they are library members or not.  

This Policy should be implemented alongside Brighton & Hove City Council’s Threat Response Guidance; the Corporate Complaints Procedure and Brighton & Hove Library Services Exclusion Procedure. These will provide appropriate guidelines for compliance with the objectives contained in the policy, and to manage the risks associated with work-related violence.  

Policy enforcement

When an exclusion is enforced, we will ensure: 

  • that the incident is fully Investigated.  

  • that we communicate with the individual/s, witnesses and potential stakeholders (emergency and social services) are involved in a timely manner. 

  • that the person/s excluded understand their right to appeal and the council’s complaint procedure. 

  • that the recipient is informed in writing of the reasons for the exclusion and its duration. 

  • that the investigation and details of exclusion are recorded and held in line with GDPR procedures. 

The anti-social behaviours that would lead to an exclusion are outlined in the library byelaws. The table reflects the associated durations. These are at the discretion of the Duty Manager involved and the Deputy Head of Service. 

Exclusion behaviours and durations

You will be asked to leave if you: 

  • cause any dog or other animal to enter or remain in the library - you can return immediately but without the animal
  • bring in a wheeled vehicle or conveyance into the library - you can return immediately but without the vehicle
  • are offensively unclean in person or clothing - you can return once personal hygiene has improved. You will be signposted to services if necessary

You will be excluded for 1 month if you:

  • enter a prohibited part of the library 
  • access or remain in the library outside of opening times 
  • obstruct a library officer in the course of their duties
  • intentionally or recklessly disturb, obstruct, interrupt, abuse or annoy any other person using the library
  • refuse to leave the library during an emergency evacuation
  • refuse to make proper use of library facilities after having been advised or requested to do so by a library officer
  • intentionally display, distribute or leave any bill, placard, notice, (having been asked by a library officer not to do so)
  • offer anything for sale or seek donations on library premises or canvass or seek signatures for petitions (without permission from a library officer)
  • leave a child unsupervised in the library 
  • bring in or light any flame on library premises

You will be excluded for 3 months if you:

  • take or be under the influence of alcohol or any toxic substance. Or supply, take or be under the influence of any controlled drug as defined by Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
  • destroy or damage any library property 

You will be excluded for up to 6 months if you:

  • behave in a violent, disorderly or indecent manner in the library
  • use violent, abusive, offensive, insulting or obscene language 

The length of exclusion will depend on where this behaviour contravenes the Equality Act 2010.  

In extreme instances permanent exclusion from the library service can be implemented.

Right to appeal

As part of a full and fair exclusion policy the right to appeal applies to all exclusions. An appeal is used to review whether a decision that's been made should be overturned or changed. Please note that appeals will be assessed on the following criteria: 

  • that the reasons for the exclusion are incorrect  
  • new information that has not been considered has come to light 

 Brighton & Hove Library Service will look at an appeal request to see if: 

  • the procedure was followed in a fair way 
  • the outcome was fair 

This means that: 

  • an appeal will be heard by a member of staff not previously involved in issuing the original exclusion. 
  • an appeal will be heard by a member of staff more senior than the original investigating officer. 
  • we will carry out another investigation, if necessary. 
  • we will review if a different outcome is appropriate. 
  • we will provide the outcome in writing as soon as possible. 

Appeals should be made in writing to the officer named on the exclusion and using the subject line Exclusion Appeal. They must be received within 5 working days of an exclusion being issued. 

An appeal should clearly state your name, contact details and the exclusion reference. It should include why an appeal is being requested (as per the details outlined above) and the next steps that you would like considered.  

You should also make it clear whether you are able to attend an in-person appeal meeting or whether someone will advocate on your behalf. It would also be advantageous to know whether you have any access requirements that need to be considered.

Please note that an appeal meeting is not always necessary or appropriate. You will be notified and given a minimum of 5 working days' notice of an appeal meeting date.  

The appeal hearing

In an appeal hearing, the person carrying out the appeal process will: 

  • introduce everyone, explaining why they are there if necessary 
  • explain the purpose of the hearing, how it will be conducted and what powers the person hearing the appeal has 
  • ask you why you are appealing 
  • look at new evidence, if there is any 
  • summarise the points after discussing them, and end the hearing 

They will then consider if: 

  • the original outcome was fair 
  • they need to change the original outcome, if it's clear it was not right 
  • a new investigation is needed to find out more before making a final decision 

Carrying out extra investigation steps

After hearing an appeal, the decision to carry out further investigation steps may be made. 

This would be in cases where there is a need to: 

  • find or look at new evidence that has been raised 
  • re-check the evidence that has been found 
  • talk to the same people again 
  • find and talk to new witnesses 

The person carrying out the appeal investigation will then write up a confidential report explaining the decision reached. This will be shared with the main stakeholders. 

If the extra investigation steps find new or more serious information about the case, this may impact the original exclusion decision. It may be overturned, decreased, upheld or increased. 

Where the appeal procedure highlights that the introduction of reasonable adjustments would be beneficial a “reintroduction to the library” plan will be suggested. This will need to be agreed by both parties. 

Appeal decisions are considered full and final. 

The right to appeal does not contravene Brighton & Hove City Council’s corporate complaint procedure.