Civility and service

With council, mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections just over a month away, I wanted to say thank you to everyone in local government who helps ensure our local democracy works effectively.

I know from my own council that the unsung heroes of every election are our hardworking elections staff and democratic services officers, who pull out all the stops to ensure things run smoothly and fairly.

I also want to thank those of you who may be stepping down as elected members in May, for your service to your local communities.

Whether that’s been for one term or 50 years, and whatever your political colour, you will have changed lives and made our local places better by standing up for what you believe in.

I particularly want to pay tribute to those of you standing for re-election and any of your colleagues who may be standing for the very first time. 

This is not an easy time to be in local government. 

The political and personal challenges are huge, given rising demand for services and increased cost pressures, and rising levels of abuse and intimidation, both on the doorstep and on social media.

We are pleased that locally elected representatives will now have dedicated police support for security matters for the first time. This is something the LGA has long called for, as part of our demand for civility in public life.

We continue to raise public awareness of the role of councillors in their communities, encourage healthy debate, and improve the responses and support for local politicians facing abuse and intimidation, as part of our Debate Not Hate campaign

We’d encourage councillors to use our ‘Safer canvassing’ guide, to help them proactively consider their safety during this pre-election period.

Debating and disagreeing with one another is a healthy part of democracy, but abuse and intimidation crosses the line into dangerous territory. The right engagement matters.


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