COSLA takes on abuse in public debate

UK Local Government Associations: Joint Statement on Civility in Public Life.

The intimidation and abuse of Councillors, in person or otherwise, undermines democracy; it can prevent elected members from representing the communities they serve, prevent individuals from standing for election and undermine public trust in democratic processes.

These harmful behaviours, whether occurring towards, between or by elected members are entirely unacceptable.

Across our four nations COSLA, LGA, NILGA and WLGA commit to promoting Civility in Public Life, positive debate and resultantly supporting the wellbeing of our elected members.

Cllr Matt Garrett, President, Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA),

Cllr James Jamieson, Chair of the Local Government Association,

Cllr Alison Evison, President of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), and

Cllr Andrew Morgan, Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) Leader.

Statement from COSLA President, Cllr Alison Evison

‘The intimidation and abuse of councillors in any form is unacceptable. As COSLA President I recently signed the joint statement above with all UK local government associations, recognising the impact these behaviours might have on individuals and on our wider democracy, committing to promote positive debate and support the wellbeing of our elected members.

One of my key concerns is that the perception of this abuse, particularly online, might prevent women standing for elected office. Currently only 29% of our councillors are women.  We need your voices so that we can more accurately represent the communities we serve. We are working to provide councils and councillors with resources to manage and challenge intimidation and abuse and help protect elected member safety. I would urge any women considering standing for election to do so, and not to be dissuaded from taking your next step into politics.’