COSLA has produced Lone Working Guidance for Councillors aimed at keeping Elected Members safe as they carry out their duties.
The guidance, which has been endorsed by Council Leaders, has been circulated to Scotland’s 32 Councils for consideration and possible implementation on a voluntary basis.
It examines councillor safety in relation to lone working, outlining key principles to follow and providing examples of how these might be applied in a range of settings.
The new guidance does not provide a policy for adoption, but promotes the ongoing development of local, supportive and appropriately funded lone working practices.
As Councillors often carry out duties in various locations, including in community spaces, online and in constituents’ homes, the guidance suggests that they undertake personal safety training and that they have a means of communicating with others at all times.
The guidance further explores the means of Councillors being able to provide details of their whereabouts, e.g. through the use of an app, and being equipped with an emergency alarm system.
The document also includes a section specifically related to lone working for Councillors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COSLA President, Councillor Alison Evison, said: “Our Councillors often carry out duties in various locations, including in community spaces, online and in the homes of constituents; they also frequently work outside of regular office hours and undertake duties independently. With this in mind it is essential that safe working practices are considered.
“While Councillors are not employees and we must actively take responsibility for own safety, our health and safety is just as important as the rest of the Local Government workforce.
“This guidance is intended to support Councils develop appropriate working practices for councillors and I hope that it will enable Councillors to feel more safe in their role. The assurance that our councillors are valued as people and supported should encourage a greater diversity of people from our communities to stand for elected office.”