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Town councillors commits to civility and respect policy

The new year will start off on a high note for Sandbach Town Council, which has “wholeheartedly” agreed to new “constructive and respectful working arrangements”, following a period of turmoil that has left councillors angered and staff off sick.

The policy was outlined by the recently issued ChALC (Cheshire Association of Local Councils) best practice member-officer protocol, based on a civility and respect model.

All officers and staff who attended a gathering on 13th December “enthusiastically” signed the document and agreed to adhere to the protocol for all council business.

Chief officer Ceri Lloyd said: “There is absolutely no place for unpleasant or disrespectful behaviour for either staff or members of the town council.

“We hope that commitment to this protocol will embed a culture of positive and effective working, which the town council has encouraged in recent times, and that it will be practised by all for years to come.”

She added: “Poor relations and behaviour are not only unpleasant but lead to disharmony and dysfunction which – bluntly – is a total waste of taxpayers’ money.

“Further, it discourages recruitment and retention of voluntary councillors, who have such a lot to offer, and committed, valuable and skilled staff.

“The ‘Good Councillors Guide’ refers also to this crucial working relationship, saying: ‘The best councils will have a clerk and councillors who work as a team to provide a service for the community’.”

She added: “That is not to say the staff and members cannot challenge each other, but they should do it politely and with the good of the council and residents in mind.”

The protocol also sets out the respective roles and responsibilities of members and officers as a “helpful guide” for effectively working together to deliver high quality public services.

The full council aims to have a progress report for its next meeting and will monitor the effectiveness of the protocol through its Personnel Committee.

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