Rising fears over bullying at the council prompted a behind-closed-doors meeting between union representatives and councillors this week.

Sutton Council has pledged to investigate claims of bullying after a survey conducted by union Unison revealed that two thirds of those who participated say they have been bullied by their bosses at work and a third say they are being bullied.

The meeting, held on Tuesday, was a direct response to claims of a deep-rooted culture of bullying at the council from Unison following its survey of 368 workers.

Following the meeting, Councillor Colin Hall, deputy leader of the council, said: "We take bullying very seriously and have a policy in place for employees to raise any concerns. There has been significant reorganisation to make the council more efficient over the past two years. This has resulted in changes in the workplace saving £1million this financial year for local taxpayers.

"We undertake a comprehensive staff survey every two years and we are now compiling the results of the latest one to see what concerns, if any, are raised."

It was resolved that the matter be raised at the next council employee joint committee meeting in January for further discussion.

Janet O'Brien, branch secretary of Sutton Unison, said: "Unison would have preferred a stronger response, however, we will wait and see what response we get at the council employee joint committee.

"You can be sure that Sutton Unison intend to keep this campaign high profile and we will continue to support staff members who are at the end of this appalling behaviour, and let’s be clear that this isn’t about staff struggling with changes as Sutton staff have been incredibly resilient in coping with reorganisations, redundancies and ongoing budget reductions.

"Unison believe that the procedures for reporting this type of abuse are not fit for purpose and our survey has very clearly demonstrated that staff fear reprisals."

Unison launched the survey after members came forward voicing concerns in the summer.