Bristol City Council to launch ethnic councillors scheme

Bristol
City Council is launching a mentor scheme to boost the number of people from
ethnic minorities standing for election as councillors.

The
council, which presently only has one black councillor, will launch the
initiative in January, and it will be run by 15 trainers from the ethnic
community.

The
courses will offer training on personal rights, public speaking, negotiation,
conflict resolution and the workings of local and national government systems.

Pauline
Davey, personnel manager at Bristol city council, said that more than 8 per
cent of Bristol’s population are from ethnic minorities, and that their present
representation on the council is very poor.

"We
are under an obligation to make sure the council is representative of the
community," she said. "This new scheme will encourage people from
black and ethnic minority backgrounds to get involved and in turn will
encourage minority representation."

Davey
added that improved data systems were key in the collection and collation of
data, which allowed the council to analyse how many people from ethnic
minorities were represented.

She
said that minority representation in the council was up from 3.5 per cent four
years ago to 5.4 per cent now, but added that they had set the Audit
Commission’s recommendation of  7.7 per
cent as their target.

By Michael Millar

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