Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Council commits to increasing diversity in democracy

  • Plans include appointing 'Diversity Ambassadors' for each political group
  • Better representation aims to ensure all residents' voices are heard


West Lancashire Borough Councillors have adopted a motion that will underpin Members' commitment to improving diversity in democracy in the run up to the local elections in May.

The motion set out the ways in which the Council will demonstrate an open and welcoming culture to all, by 'promoting the highest standards of behaviour and conduct', and to set out a local Diverse Council Action plan which includes:

  • Appointing Diversity Ambassadors for each political group on the Council to work with each other and local party associations to encourage recruitment of candidates from under-represented groups.
  • Encouraging and enabling people from under-represented groups to stand for office through the provision of activities such as mentoring and shadowing programmes and information and learning events for people interested in standing as official candidates.
  • Undertaking proactive engagement and involvement with local community groups and partner organisations supporting and representing under-represented groups
  • Setting ambitious targets for candidates from under-represented groups at the next local elections.

The details of the motion also include increased flexibility for Councillors and an enhanced duty of care to encourage more diverse candidates.

Councillor Anne Fennell, portfolio holder for Communities, said: "Our Borough is a wonderfully diverse place, with residents from all walks of life. But this diversity is not always represented in our Council and that can be a barrier to democracy for those who don’t see themselves reflected in our Chamber.

"It's imperative that everyone's voice is heard during the decision-making process and an effective way to do that is to increase the number of Members from under-represented groups.

"The successful motion is instrumental in making this happen and I'm delighted we have wholeheartedly committed to increasing diversity in our Council."


For the full details of the motion, please see the agenda here: https://democracy.westlancs.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=137&MId=3091