CPALC (Communities, Parish and Local Councils) says NO to all forms of bullying.
Bullying is just plain wrong and has no place anywhere, especially in parish councils. Whether it's parish councillors bullying the parish clerk, the clerk bullying residents and councillors or a group of parish councillors bullying other councillors it's just wrong.
Bullying has no place in local democracy, it undermines the legitimacy of any debate. Bullies are moral cowards trying to get their own way irrespective of the democratic process.
In the experience of the CPALC team bullying is probably the single largest factor in the high turnover of parish clerks and resignation of parish councillors. CPALC believes that the new code of conduct which makes the parish clerk responsible for councillor dispensations is ill conceived, wrong and quite simply a bullies charter.
If you believe that you are being bullied speak out.
- Bullying anyone including other councillors, council officers or members of the public is unacceptable,
- Bullying is behaviour and actions which are offensive, intimidating, malicious, insulting or humiliating actions, towards someone weaker than you or someone you have, or believe to have, influence over.
- Bullying may happen occasionally or become an insidious pattern of behaviour which can destroy lives.
- Bullying undermines an individual or group of individuals and it can have a damaging effect on a person’s confidence, capability and health.
- Never intimidate anyone who is or is likely to be a complainant, a witness, or involved in the administration of any investigation or proceedings relating to a Code of Conduct investigation.
- Bullying can be contrasted with the legitimate debate occurring when a councillor questions policy or is scrutinising performance. Such discussions must be appropriate and not offensive or disrespectful.
- Council officers must accept that appropriate questioning of council policies, actions and finances is a legitimate part of elected councillor's role and duties and cannot be construed as bullying.
Please note that this article was first published in 2012