A series of recommendations for us to take forward to address unequal representation among elected councillors in local government.

Key findings

  • The evaluation found that the Diversity in Democracy (DiD) programme was successful in addressing some barriers that people from diverse backgrounds face.
  • The programme helped mentees to increase their knowledge and awareness of local government.
  • At the end of the programme, 20 out of 51 mentees were open to standing in a local government election.
  • The evaluation revealed common challenges faced by councillors including low remuneration, time commitment, childcare and negative public perceptions.

Key recommendations

The evaluation drew out several recommendations that future schemes should consider:

  • an embedded development phase to define target participants and plan key activities and resources
  • embedded monitoring and evaluation processes.
  • addressing public perceptions of local government through publicity and communication campaigns to challenge negative public perceptions of councillors
  • work with employers to address perceptions of the skills gained by individuals undertaking councillor roles
  • a Door to Democracy or similar scheme to support disabled candidates and councillors
  • engagement with political parties to ensure cross-party buy-in and to address unconscious bias on selection panels.

Background

The DiD programme ran from July 2014 to March 2017. The programme aimed to increase the number of local government candidates from diverse backgrounds through the following delivery strands:

  • mentoring initiative
  • communications campaign
  • employer engagement initiative
  • door to democracy
  • engagement with political parties.

Reports

Evaluation of diversity in democracy
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Evaluation of diversity in democracy: summary
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Evaluation of diversity in democracy: easy read summary
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Evaluation of diversity in democracy: infographic
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Contact

Merisha Hunt

Tel: 0300 062 8345