Last year the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) launched the Diversity Commission to support the growth of diversity in local councils. It is undertaking an assessment of the diversity of people who are local councillors in relation to age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and socio economic background as well as the diversity of county associations involved in the governance of county associations and NALC. The Commission will make recommendations of action and change needed to address the findings.
We know how important it is for diversity to be brought to the forefront of Government thinking regarding the representation of women. With over 80,000 Councillors shaping local communities and contributing to national government the 50:50 representation of women by 2030 must be grasped. At NAWO we very much welcome this initiative and were pleased to be invited to meet Ben Murray, a representative from the Diversity Commission, and learn more. Read More about NALC here
The first stage is to collect the data to build a picture of where we are. They want to engage with councillors and as many people and organisations as possible. To do this:
- NALC want to hear our ideas on diversity and have created a short questionnaire where we can tell them how local councils should encourage diversity and what ideas you have for NALC to look at to help encourage it at national level. If you have a story to tell them please complete the questionnaire here. The deadline is 30 March 2018.
- The Commission is also undertaking an assessment of the diversity of local councils. It has created a Census Survey for local councillors to fill in. The survey takes no longer than 15 minutes to complete and will be vital information for NALC in their mission to build an understanding of what local councils look like in the 21st Century. If you can help with getting local councilors to complete the census it would be very helpful. Deadline 30 March 2018. Take the census survey here
NALC are also encouraging councillors to tell them about what they are doing locally to encourage engagement with all members of their community – see here
In January I attended the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Democracy. The focus of the meeting was – what is the role of councillors in 2018. Sue Baxter, Chair of NALC, spoke about the Commission and why its work is so important. Professor Colin Copus and Rachel Wall from De Montfort University Local Government Research Unit presented the findings of their report – Voice of a Councillor. Read more here
On 20 March 2018 the APPG will be hosting NALC Lobby Day which encourages local councillors and county representatives to engage with their local MPs. You can keep up to date with how the day goes via Twitter @NALC. If you are interested in getting involved please get in touch with your county association and let them know. You can also support NALC Lobby Day by signing up to NALC thunderclap to help get it trending here
They are also planning to hold an event on 16 May in London with the LGA focusing on devolution. More information will follow.
Representation of women in leadership roles in government is incredibly important and we plan to actively develop our partnership with NALC and support the Commission’s work.