I personally think there's a world of difference between vigorous debate and the examples of ludicrous behaviour that seem to be littering the internet these days but then I'm of an age where I was brought up with the mantra "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".
I was aware of the civility and respect pledge but hadn't really looked at it that closely until this post, in part as my own council do seem to be able to operate politely. I've found its not just about how councillors and the clerk work together but talks about councillor to councillor, staff to councillors, council to public relationships, supports training in managing difficult situations and support for the code of conduct which already includes a requirement to treat others with respect but the pledge includes staff and the public in that requirement too. Unfortunately there are no sanctions for non compliance other than those already available through employment law and/or the monitoring officer. I can't help thinking its a sad world that requires us to put such measures in place rather than rely on everyone to behave appropriately towards each other.