Council Motion: Fostering a Culture of Respect and Inclusivity in Local Government

The Council Motion below is from Fife Council and put forward by Lib Dem Councillor Aude Boubaker-Calder. The motion can be adapted to all councils and calls for a better environment in Local Government to foster respect and inclusivity for all groups.

Work out the gender balance of your own council to localise the motion. Average female representation in local government for each region of the UK can be found in this report from the Fawcett Society.

This Council aspires to promote a culture of respect, inclusivity, and accountability, free from bullying, misogyny, and discriminatory behaviours, ensuring that elected office positions are safe for all councillors to express their opinions without fear of harassment or discrimination.

Council notes:

  • That despite progress since women’s representation in local governance, statistics indicate there is still a significant gender disparity within Scotland’s councils, with only 35% of councillors being women in the last election in 2022, and Fife Council comprising 36% women councillors.
  • The report from the Local Government Commission highlighting a disturbing trend of female councillors opting not to seek re-election due to the toxic culture within council chambers and meetings.
  • That structural and cultural issues, as identified by the COSLA Councillors Survey, contribute to this trend, necessitating urgent action to support diverse representation.
  • That sexism, double standards, and other forms of discrimination such as racism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism persist within society and local government politics, posing significant barriers to inclusive representation.
  • That a toxic culture in the council chamber discourages women, as well as individuals from other marginalised groups, from participating in local government.
  • The Scottish Local Councillors Remuneration Committee recommendation for fair compensation to attract a more diverse range of candidates underscores the need for systemic change to create a safer and more equitable environment in elected office positions.

Council, therefore:

  • Reaffirms its commitment to diversity, equality, and fair representation in local government and to upholding standards of behaviour and respect amongst all elected members.
  • Calls on the leadership of all regional and national political parties to promote clear and consistent messaging that sexist and discriminatory behaviours are unacceptable, especially amongst elected representatives at whatever level.
  • Agrees to engage with relevant organisations such as Engender to further develop its policies aimed at addressing issues of bullying, misogyny, and discrimination.
  • Recommends that the Cross Party Leaders Group considers standards of behaviour and respect as a standing item on its agenda and encourages the development of appropriate training on all forms of discrimination for councillors.


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