Civility & Respect

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. Dorset itself has the same issues periodically and in some cases, quite frequently amongst member 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. Below you will be able to read about Standards in Public Life, watch a series of short videos explaining what the Nolan Principles are and how they should be applied. These standards apply equally to employees as they do parish and town councillors.


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.

Respectful Social Media Use for Councils and Councillors

Social media features prominently in code of conduct complaints. It is a very powerful and direct way to access the community served by local councils. It can be highly effective in conveying key messages and stimulating debate and feedback. However, it can also be toxic and unforgiving when the boundaries are pushed too far.

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The Civility & Respect Pledge

What your council will be doing in signing up to the Civility & Respect Pledge and how to do so. The pledge is aimed at keeping the topic of standrads in public life in full view as councils and their employees go about their everyday, week to week business. From time to time it's useful to get a reminder of the importance and obligations contained in the Code of Conduct.

HR Support Videos

The Civility & Respect Project commissioned Chris Moses (Managing Director of Personnel & Advice Solutions) to narrate a series of videos lasting between 20 to 35 minutes on key topics for those involved in employee relations. The videos offer some key actions and plans for councils where their employee relations are in need of a refresh.

Nolan Principles

Read about the Nolan Principles and why they are important for councillors to understand. They also apply to employees of public bodies. Watc a series of 1 minute videos explaining what they mean.



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