Safer canvassing guide from the Local Government Association

The Local Government Association has issued a new ‘safer canvassing guide’ for councillors and political parties to follow in the run up to the local election and an anticipated general election.

The guide outlines seven principles for safe canvassing and builds on those to offer some helpful, practical hints for canvassers.

This comes on the back of the LGA’s Debate Not Hate campaign, which found that over 80 per cent of councillors of all parties suffered abuse or intimidation last year and 70 per cent experienced abuse during the 2023 local election campaign.

You can read the guide in full here, and there follows a summary of the seven principles:

-Be prepared, not scared: Regularly assess risks, seek available training and support, including advice from local police, parties, or council, and trust your instincts for personal safety during canvassing to ensure a confident and secure approach.

-Focus on group safety: Whenever possible, canvass in groups or pairs for safety – and because it is more enjoyable! Inform others of your whereabouts if canvassing alone. Prioritise team safety by halting and discussing any incidents that may occur.

-Actively communicate with the team and set periodic check-ins: Share canvassing plans with the team and trusted contacts, establishing regular check-ins for safety.

-Use technology to make canvassing safer: Use available technological aids like wearable devices and tracking apps for mobile phones. Get familiar with their emergency features to enhance safety while canvassing. Familiarise yourself with smartphone security functions beforehand and align technology choices with the risk assessment for canvassing.

-Be security aware: Prioritise safety and security when canvassing. Try carrying only essentials and avoid going into residents’ homes. When available, follow party do-not-knock lists and update them if you encounter any problem.

-Keep a record: Maintain a detailed incident log and report any uncomfortable situations encountered while canvassing. Sharing incident reports with both your party and the council/police ensures appropriate awareness and action.

-Prioritise aftercare and set emergency protocols: Offer team support after any experiences of abuse or intimidation, prioritising aftercare. Debrief sessions should encourage sharing experiences and seeking support, focusing on both positive and negative encounters. Periodically review emergency response procedures.

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This entry was posted in Campaign Corner.

One Comment

  • Ruth Bright 21st Jan '24 - 3:03pm

    Not sure how realistic this. The reality is many of us deliver leaflets on our own. I had a good reception delivering a few days ago but one nasty aggressive comment. I am sure its the same for everyone.

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