On 18 March 2022, the government published its response to the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) review and recommendations on local government ethical standards.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC), Steve Trice, said:
“After so much work by the CSPL which produced its clear, evidence-based report in January 2019 identifying much needed improvements to standards of behaviour in local government, the government’s response, three years later, is very disappointing especially to those in the town and parish council sector. Most recommendations are unlikely to be taken forward.
The SLCC has long campaigned for change alongside the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), most notably to introduce sanctions for poor behaviour. Whilst the vast majority of councils operate within a framework of civility, there are those where behaviour falls short of this – bullying, harassment and intimidation should not be tolerated by councillors or staff at any level of local government.”
The SLCC and NALC have invested in a dedicated Civility & Respect Project aimed at improving standards of behaviour in public life. This is also supported by One Voice Wales (OVW) and County Associations across England – all are working together to ensure good governance, positive debate and the well being of councillors, professional officers and staff. This important and serious work will continue.
With its partners, the SLCC will now follow up with the government on its stated commitment to progress further work with representatives from all levels of local government and urge it to re-visit some of its conclusions around the CSPL report.
More information about the Civility & Respect Project is available here.