Adjournment Debate Prompts Government Action on Bullying in Local Government

10 May 2024

In a landmark development for local council professionals, an Adjournment Debate, a parliamentary process which enables a backbench Member of Parliament to debate an issue with the relevant Minister, was held in the House of Commons yesterday (9 May). It sparked crucial discussions on tackling the issue of bullying within the sector and was fuelled by the relentless advocacy of SLCC together with the Association of Local Council Clerks (ALCC) and the National Association of Local Councils (NALC). The well researched debate shed light on the pressing need for governmental intervention to safeguard the wellbeing of all local government officials.

SLCC’s unwavering commitment to addressing workplace bullying and harassment found resonance in the House of Commons as Sir Julian Lewis, Member of Parliament for New Forest East, championed the cause during the debate. Drawing from constructive dialogue with sector representatives , Sir Julian Lewis emphasised the urgency of implementing effective measures to combat bullying, ensuring a safe and appropriate work environment for local council professionals. The Minister for Local Government, Simon Hoare, MP, gave a reasoned response commending the work and increasing role of town, parish and community councils and how poor behaviour can impact councillors and staff as well as the overall effectiveness of those councils.

It was agreed that a roundtable discussion should take place, bringing together the Minister, Sir Julian Lewis and key stakeholders including SLCC, ALCC and NALC. At the heart of this dialogue will be the exploration of actionable steps to tackle intimidation and harassment within the sector.

This proactive move by government marks another step in the right direction for SLCC and its partners and underscores the power of collaborative working. It will build on the significant work already undertaken via the sector’s Civility & Respect Project to prioritise the wellbeing and dignity of all those in local government.

Rob Smith, SLCC Chief Executive said, “This represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to address bullying and harassment within our sector. We look forward to working with colleagues in government to ensure that the voices and concerns of the profession are heard and addressed effectively. This roundtable presents a long-awaited opportunity for us, with our partners at ALCC and NALC, to help formulate real reform to add to what has been achieved through our pan-sector Civility and Respect Project, set up to promote civility and respect in public life, good governance, positive debate and support the well-being of councillors, professional officers and staff.”

Click here to watch the debate on the BBC iPlayer, the debate takes place at 5:12:11.

Civility & Respect