The Civility and Respect Project Working Group met Monday 28 June and finalised plans for the appointment of a Project Officer to drive forward the important package of work named the Civility and Respect Project. The Project sets out a number of key priorities and tangible objectives identified by the Group and advertising for the fixed-term appointment will begin imminently with interviews being held in August.
Along with detailed discussions on lobbying, links to the Improvement and Development Board (IDB) and local resolution protocol, the Group also set out a mission statement summarising the core aims and values for securing permanent change in the sector:
‘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, professional officers and staff, in person or online, is totally unacceptable; whether that is by councillors, professional officers, staff or members of the public.
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.
National Association of Local Councils (NALC), county associations of local councils and One Voice Wales (OVW), as the membership organisations representing the first tier of local government in England and Wales, and Society of Local Council Clerks (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 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 encourage more people to get involved; training; and processes to intervene to provide support to struggling councils.’