Agenda item

Motion: Civility and Respect Pledge

We believe now is the time to put civility and respect at the top of the agenda and support a culture change for the local council sector initiated by the National Association of Local Councils which has already been supported by town Councils in Exmouth, Honiton, Sidmouth, Axminster, Budleigh Salterton and many others across our region

The Civility and Respect Pledge is being introduced because there is no place for bullying, harassment and intimidation within our sector.  The pledge is easy for councils to sign up for and it will enable councils to demonstrate that they are committed to standing up to poor behaviour across our sector and to driving through positive changes which support civil and respectful conduct.

The Code of Conduct produced by the Local Government Association (LGA) in 2021 has not been widely adopted. The Civility and Respect project has endorsed the LGA model Code of Conduct and the guidance notes aimed to help understanding and consistency of approach towards the code. The code is a template for councils to adopt in whole and or with amendments to taking into account local circumstances. It is appropriate that our Constitution and procedures are kept under constant review.The code and guidance have been designed to protect our democratic role, encourage good conduct, and safeguard the public’s trust and confidence in the role of councillor in local government.

While the LGA code sets out the minimum standards of behaviour expected, together with the guidance, it is designed to encourage councillors to model the high standards expected, to be mutually respectful even if they have personal or political differences, to provide a personal check and balance, and to set out the type of conduct that could lead to complaints being made of behaviour falling below the standards expected of councillors and in breach of the code. It is also to protect councillors, the public, local authority officers and the reputation of the local government.


EDDC will encourage all Town & Parish Councils to adopt the Civility and Respect Pledge, and by signing the Pledge, our council is agreeing that the council will treat councillors, clerks, employees, members of the public, and representatives of partner organisations and volunteers with civility and respect in their roles and that it:

-        Has put in place a training programme for councillors and staff

-        Has signed up to the LGA 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 the 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 practices in the sector and aspire to be a role model council through for example the Local Council Award Scheme

-        Supports the continued lobbying for change in legislation to support the Civility and Respect Pledge including sanctions for elected members where appropriate


Proposed by Mike Allen  

Seconded by Andrew Moulding, 

Supported by Richard Lawrence, Philip Skinner, Ian Hall and Bruce De Saram




The Chair invited Cllr Allen as the proposer, to speak to the motion.

Cllr Allen addressed the Pledge initiated by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), and how it could encourage better practice in EDDC in line with its Constitution, and in line with many other local authorities.


The Chair invited Cllr Moulding as the seconder, to speak to the motion.

Cllr Moulding said it was gratifying to know that many town Councils had signed up to the Pledge already and hoped that EDDC would do likewise in order to encourage good standards of behaviour and mutual respect between Cllrs and the people they serve.


Cllr Hayward said that he was Clerk to three councils and was proud that one of them had already signed up to the pledge. However, whilst approving the motion in principle, he said that it was aimed primarily at Town and Parish Councils governed by NALC and not at District Councils which were not. He wanted to propose an amendment as follows;


‘EDDC will encourage all Town & Parish Councils to adopt the Civility and Respect Pledge’.

The Chair asked for a seconder. Cllr Allen said that he was happy to accept the proposed amendment and Cllr Moulding would second that. Following a vote, the Chair confirmed that the amendment was carried and had become the substantive motion.


Cllr Ledger confirmed that his Town Council had agreed the pledge and become the 1001st to do so.


Cllr Howe asked for the motion to be put and Cllr Ingham seconded this.


The Chair invited members to vote for the motion, which was carried unanimously.