Civility and Respect

There is no place for bullying, harassment, and intimidation within our sector and signing up to the Civility and Respect Pledge is one of the ways a council can demonstrate that it is committed to standing up to poor behaviour across our sector. Taking the pledge demonstrates a commitment to positive changes that support civil and respectful conduct.

By signing the pledge, your council is agreeing that it will treat councillors, clerks, employees, members of the public, representatives of partner organisations, and volunteers with civility and respect in their roles, and it:

  • Has put in place a training programme for councillors and staff
  • Has signed up to the Code of Conduct for councillors
  • Has good governance arrangements in place including staff contracts and a dignity at work policy
  • Will seek professional help at early stages should civility and respect issues arise
  • Will commit to calling out bullying and harassment if and when it happens
  • Will continue to learn from best practice in the sector and aspire to being a role model/champion council
  • Supports the continued lobbying for change in legislation to support civility and respect, including sanctions for elected members where appropriate

We invite all councils to include an agenda item to review the statements and sign up to the Civility and Respect Pledge. There is an example agenda item for the pledge to assist you.

Template policy documents & guidance

Once it has signed the pledge, your council can choose to adopt the model Dignity at Work Policy, which will replace any previous bullying and harassment policy. It encompasses behaviours beyond bullying and harassment and zero-tolerance to deal with concerns before they escalate. It’s vital that any commitment made in the policy is applied in practice. 

Parish and town councils are advised to consider and adopt Civility & Respect model Councillor-Officer Protocol. The purpose of the Protocol is to guide councillors and officers of the council in their relations with one another. The Protocol’s intention is to build and maintain good working relationships between councillors and officers as they work together. A strong, constructive, and trusting relationship between councillors and officers is essential to the effective and efficient working of the council. This Protocol also seeks to reflect the principles underlying the Code of Conduct that apply to councillors, and the employment terms and conditions of officers. The shared objective is to enhance and maintain the integrity (real and perceived) of local government.

The project has written a statement that councils can use on websites to make clear that bullying, harassment, and intimidation will not be tolerated. In addition, a comprehensive guide, approved by NALC, has been produced to actively address the issues of civility and respect in social media. 

Training and news

Please see SALC newsletters and contact the SALC office for details about NALC’s short, low-cost e-learning modules that address issues of civility and respect.

The Civility & Respect project has made some significant progress over the last few months and we are pleased to share with you the March 2023, July 2023 and December 2023 newsletters.

Mediation Services

Colleagues in dispute can have a huge impact on a council, not only financially but reputationally. Mediation in the workplace can help.

SALC offers workplace mediation services with Sam Winter, a qualified workplace mediator compliant with the Civil Mediation Council.

Mediated communication is opened in a safe and supportive environment with the aim of seeking agreements and solutions for an improved future working relationship. Workplace mediators are impartial third parties who facilitate a process of negotiation to enable the participants themselves to reach their own settlement agreements. This method is entirely confidential and can lead to long term sustainable solutions. Relationships are rebuilt, teams work more cohesively, and colleagues are empowered to address any further issues that may arise.

If you would like to explore how mediation might help your council, email sam@somerset-alc.org.uk to request an informal conversation.

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