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.


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 report.

LGA's Model Councillor Code of Conduct

All councils are required to have a local Councillor Code of Conduct. In association with key partners and extensive consultation with the sector, the LGA has developed a Model Councillor Code of Conduct, providing a template for councils to adopt in whole and/or with local amendments. The Code was developed in consultation with a range of officer and member stakeholders; the LGA response to the consultation is available on our website.

Councillors' guide to handling intimidation

Together with WLGA, we have published some practical steps that councillors and councils can take to protect themselves as a person in a public position.

Digital citizenship 

Alongside the WLGA, COSLA and NILGA, we have produced a set of resources for local councillors on digital citizenship, including a model rules of engagement and top tips on how to tackle online abuse.

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Glitch is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to end online abuse and promote digital citizenship. Glitch founder (and former councillor) Seyi Akiwowo joined us at the 2019 LGA Annual Conference to talk about her work:

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