Throughout the sector, there are growing concerns about the impact bullying, harassment, and intimidation are having on local (parish and town) councils, councillors, clerks and council staff and the resulting effectiveness of local councils.
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC), One Voice Wales, the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC) and county associations have responded to this by setting up a Civility and Respect Working Group to oversee the Civility and Respect Project.
CIVILITY AND RESPECT PLEDGE
NALC, SLCC, and OVW believe now is the time to put civility and respect at the top of the agenda and start a culture change for the local council sector.
The Civility and Respect Pledge is being introduced because there is no place for bullying, harassment and intimidation within our sector. The pledge is easy for councils to sign up for and it will enable councils to demonstrate that they are committed to standing up to poor behaviour across our sector and to driving through positive changes which support civil and respectful conduct.
We invite all councils to take the Civility and Respect Pledge.
Civility and respect should be at the heart of public life, and good governance is fundamental to ensuring an effective and well-functioning democracy at all levels.
The intimidation, abuse, bullying and harassment of councillors, clerks and council staff, in person or online, is unacceptable, whether by councillors, clerks, council staff, or public members.
This can prevent councils from functioning effectively, councillors from representing local people, discourage people from getting involved, including standing for election, and undermine public confidence and trust in local democracy.
NALC, county associations and OVW, as the membership organisations representing the first tier of local government in England and Wales, and the SLCC, as the professional body for clerks, are committed to working together to promote civility and respect in public life, good governance, positive debate and supporting the well-being of councillors, professional officers and staff.
To that end, the Civility and Respect Working Group will be working to deliver tangible resources, actions and interventions in four main areas: providing councils with the tools to support good governance; lobbying to strengthen the standards regime and encouraging more people to get involved; training; and processes to intervene to provide support to struggling councils.
The group has identiﬁed a signiﬁcant number of changes and improvements considered vital to provide support to help reduce and manage the issues related to bullying and harassment in the sector. These factors have been organised into six project workstreams that will deliver on the mission statement.
One of the key aims of the civility and respect project has been to deliver training support for councillors, clerks, and employees who experience difficulties with bullying and harassment and to start to address some of the causes of poor behaviour. NALC recognise that times and dates for webinars and training courses do not always suit the busy schedules of local council members and employees and that a blended approach is often needed to share vital information.
E-learning enables councils to respond quickly to learners’ needs, with flexibility and without having to organise physical training with fixed times and dates. Several county associations already offer a comprehensive range of e-learning options for clerks and councillors, and NALC is now pleased to be able to extend this further.
NALC is working with Nimble, online learning specialists, to enable councils access to a suite of engaging online learning at affordable prices available to everyone across our sector. Clerks and councillors in most areas can enrol and pay for courses online. If you are in South West, East of England, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire, and Warwickshire, you should enrol via your county association.
NALC welcomes any feedback on the e-learning modules and will use this to improve or update the modules to ensure they best meet the needs of our members.
To access the training, please visit the Nimble e-learning website. If you are in South West, East of England, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire, and Warwickshire, you should enrol via your county association.
*If your council is paying for the training, please ensure you have their permission to pay for the training before registering *