Monday, July 27, 2009

Questions posed to the Leader of Liverpool City Council, 8th July 2009 - Q27

Can the Leader say is Equality and Diversity training mandatory for councillors in
Liverpool? And if not, what steps can be taken to introduce this?

Equality and Diversity Training is currently offered to all Members of the City Council as part of the Member Development Programme. Whilst this is not currently a mandatory requirement, Members are strongly encouraged to attend these sessions.
Of the current Membership of the City Council 60 out of 90 have attended specific Equality training or briefing sessions. The remaining Members of the Council have attended a range of other sessions which include references to Equality and Diversity issues. The Induction Programme for Members includes a session on Equality and Diversity and Community Engagement.

The current Member Development Provision will shortly be subject to a comprehensive
review. Whilst Membership of certain regulatory Committees currently has a mandatory
training requirement, the issue of whether mandatory attendance can be achieved for a
wider range of sessions will be considered as part of this process with reference to
relevant legislation and following due consultation with Members.

It must be understood many members are employed and also undertake such training via
their workplace.

Verbal supplementary question

The report of the Equal Opportunity Public Review in 2000 recommended compulsory E&D training for all councillors, this recommendation – number 9 – was accepted by this council. Whilst I am pleased that so many councillors are committed to this training, I am also aware that the Scrutiny Panel of Operation Black Vote has heard evidence from some mentors and mentees that discrimination and prejudice still exists to some degree, with some councillors continuing to behave inappropriately, either deliberately or through ignorance of different customs. Examples were given for example of male councillors touching women’s arms or embracing them for instance (at this point the Leader embraced Cllr Marilyn Fielding who was sitting next to him), contrary to their religion.

We also heard some evidence that inappropriate words and language which are offensive particularly to black people.continue to be used by a small minority of councillors.

What efforts will the leader take or ask the Executive Member for Ethical Governance to take, to ensure that all councillors are given proper training so that these types of behaviours stop in future?

Verbal response

The leader said he did not know why I was addressing all these questions about Equality and Diversity to him, he thought that Cllr Twigger should be answering them. He then said that we could not make training mandatory for councillors but that some would get the training through work.

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