The Cox report and its lessons for local government

19 October 2018

Dame Laura Cox’s long-awaited report into bullying and harassment of staff at the House of Commons has been published. It is more hard-hitting, and excoriating of the House authorities, than many might have expected. Hopefully – but let’s not hold our breath – it will lead to real change at the heart of national democracy. But does it have any lessons for us in local government?

Dig into the report’s findings and you will find a great deal that’s familiar. Culture is central – in the case of the Commons, a culture of subservience and deference that has led to a sense that MPs have been able to behave with impunity. That is an extreme example, but those who’ve worked in local government for some time will recognise some aspects of this from their own experience. The question is – how do we identify where poor behaviour exist in our own workplaces and how do we deal with them?

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