COSLA has today (August 7, 2020) attended a virtual meeting of the UK Forum, hosted by the Northern Ireland Local Government Association.
The Forum regularly brings together the leaders of the four Local Government associations to discuss key issues and opportunities for the local government sector, how they collectively address these across the regions and how they share knowledge, expertise and a partnership approach across the four Local Government associations.
Today’s meeting focused on Local Government’s community response to the COVID-19 crisis and the ongoing financial and resource impact on all councils now and in the future.
The associations discussed the importance of joined up engagement and communication from central and Local Government on Brexit and of the need to ensure that the voice of Local Government on behalf of local communities is heard in discussions and that it is not diminished going forward.
The Civility in Public Life campaign, a joint programme of work to address the growing levels of intimidation directed at councillors and those in public life and the negative impact this is having on democracy for everyone, was also discussed.
At the meeting, the Local Government Associations agreed a Joint Statement on Civility in Public Life which was agreed by the Presidents, Leader or Chair of each of the four Local Government Associations.
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.