Unitary councils have 'manifestly failed' on diversity

By Laura Sharman | 05 October 2017

Not a single chief executive officer at 50 unitary councils comes from a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background, new research has revealed today.

The analysis by recruitment firm Green Park and campaigners Operation Black Vote (OBV) also found that only 4% of the leaders of unitary councils are from ethnic minority backgrounds, with only nine women in the same position.

It said the findings showed unitary authorities had ‘manifestly failed’ to ensure there is equal representation from women and those of an ethnic minority background in positions of power.

Chief executive officer of Green Park, Raj Tulsiani, said: ‘The findings serve to underline the reasons why political leaders are being confronted with a steady erosion of public trust in institutions.

‘For many, the absence of diversity in local government leadership is a clear signal that institutions don’t understand the need to modernise to reflect their constituents.

‘The upper echelons of leadership within England’s unitary authorities in no way resemble the diverse backgrounds of the residents and it simply isn’t acceptable.’

Director of OBV, Simon Woolley, added: ‘The findings are deeply troubling: public institutions like unitary authorities would be immeasurably more effective with a greater diversity of views to serve our increasingly multifaceted, multicultural society.

‘By honestly recognising the challenge and effectively dealing with it, we will massively unleash potential talent which would benefit every aspect of our society.’

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