NALC responds to BBC investigation on abuse towards councillors and staff


The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has responded to an investigation by the BBC into abuse and intimidation of people in local government.

NALC is among several local government organisations, including the Local Government Association (LGA), warning abuse from members of the public towards councillors and staff poses a threat to local democracy, calling for more to be done to stop councillors being forced to stand down and to improve civility and respect in councils.

LGA research, supported by NALC, on the intimidation of councillors, found that 88% of the parish and town councillors reported having suffered abuse, intimidation, or both, which is higher than councillors in other tiers of local government at 81%, which was an increase of 8% per cent on the previous year.

Harassment, stalking, threats, assault, and a dead rat pushed through a letterbox are among examples of abuse found by the BBC investigation.

NALC recently welcomed the report and recommendations of the Jo Cox Civility Commission on tackling abuse and intimidation, which has identified a range of practical recommendations across different sectors – from central government to policing and social media.

Cllr Keith Stevens, NALC chair, said: “No one should be subject to abuse and intimidation, especially those elected to public office ranging from Members of Parliament to parish and town councillors who spend over 14 million hours a year serving their communities.

“NALC is hugely concerned that councillors in all local government levels are being harassed and intimidated by poor behaviour in a minority of parish and town councils.

“That’s why NALC is working with a range of bodies, such as the LGA, to highlight the risks these pose to local democracy and to provide support to parish and town councils through our Civility and Respect Project.

“But more needs to be done to stop councillors standing down, encourage more people of all backgrounds and experiences to become councillors and uphold the highest standards of behaviour and conduct in England’s 10,000 parish and town councils.

“NALC is urging the government to implement recommendations made by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, which include allowing councils to withhold councillor addresses and being able to suspend or disqualify councillors for poor behaviour.”

Read the full BBC story

Find out more about the Civility and Respect Project

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