New toolkit aimed at putting an end to the increasing intimidation reported by a number of councillors as they attempt to go about their daily business supporting local residents.
Further support to combat increasing abuse aimed at councillors has today been launched by the Local Government Association.
The new toolkit, part of the LGA’s Debate Not Hate Campaign, is aimed at putting an end to the increasing intimidation reported by a number of councillors as they attempt to go about their daily business supporting local residents.
First launched at the LGA’s Annual Conference in June this year, the campaign followed a national call for evidence into the abuse of elected representatives that identified a growing normalisation of abuse against local politicians. A recent national census of councillors also led by the LGA, worryingly revealed that seven in 10 councillors said that they have either been abused or have felt intimidated within the last twelve months, with one in 10 saying that they now felt it was becoming a frequent occurrence.
The LGA, which represents over 350 councils across England and Wales, is calling on all councillors to unite in stamping out targeted abuse across the country. The new toolkit offers a range of resources and actions for both individual councillors and councils to take forward, including digital assets and template press releases that can be used to help raise awareness of the issue locally.
Councils can publicly declare their support for the campaign and help promote a healthy debate between the public, councillors and new candidates, in both the lead-up to next year’s local elections and also within council meetings.
Debate Not Hate has already seen over 400 signatories adding their support to the LGA’s public statement that calls on the Government to work more closely with councils and their partners to implement an action plan. All local councillors, national politicians and relevant partners such as the police and social media companies are being encouraged to get involved and add their full support.
Co-Chairs of the LGA’s Civility in Public Life Steering Group, Cllr Marianne Overton MBE and Cllr Shabir Pandor said:
“Councillors are as much a part of the community as those they represent, and they should not expect to be subjected to any form of abuse because of their position. It is vital that we all come together and help stamp out this awful behaviour and help protect those who are trying to do the best by their communities. This is essential if we are going to encourage more people to come forward and stand in future elections.
“Local democracy is the cornerstone of our communities and anyone, regardless of their background or political affiliation, must feel safe and proud to represent their community.”