Civility in public life

There are growing concerns about the impact an increasing level of public intimidation and toxicity of debate is having on our country’s democratic processes, particularly at a local level.

Two figures on podium making a speech, magenta colour background

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.

Across the UK, there are growing concerns about the impact an increasing level of public intimidation and toxicity of debate is having on our country’s democratic processes. In response, the LGA is working closely with WLGA, COSLA and NILGA to coordinate a programme of work entitled ‘Civility in public life’, primarily aimed at:

  • articulating good standards for anyone engaging in public and political discourse 

  • understand the scale and impact of intimidation and abusive behaviour on our membership organisations, and develop recommendations for achieving positive debate and public decision-making on a local level 

  • to support our members and all democratically elected local representatives in addressing intimidation and abuse, so they deliver the best on behalf of their communities 

You can read more about this programme of work in our Civility in public life programme report and access our various guides for councillors and officers and report through the links below.