‘Councils should be more diverse’

Under-representation of ethnic minority communities is “perpetuating racial inequality and disadvantage” in the UK, according to a report by University of Manchester academics.

Professor Maria Sobolewska and Dr Neema Begum conducted the first census of all sitting councillors in all four nations of the UK and found that 7 per cent of them are from ethnic minority communities, compared with 14 per cent in the population as a whole.

Metropolitan boroughs have the most diverse councils but London’s councillors are still less diverse than they should be, given the diversity of the city’s residents.

An LGA spokesperson said: “The LGA has been constantly working with all councils towards increasing diversity and inclusion. Councils want to see more people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, women, parents and carers stand for election and to step up to leadership roles in local government to create a working environment that is attractive and supportive for people from all groups and backgrounds.

Many local authorities have been carrying out supplementary risk assessments and having conversations with their BAME employees to find out what additional support can be put in place to manage the safety of these staff at work, given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minority communities. Some examples are available at www.local.gov.uk/covid-19-good-council-practice


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