‘Little progress’ is being made in increasing the diversity of senior leadership in local authorities, a report published today has found.
The report by recruitment consultancy Green Park said 39% of senior positions in councils were held by women while the figure for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) was just 3.7% - barely half the equivalent statistic in the FTSE 100.
No metropolitan borough has an ethnic minority chief executive and, despite London having a population that is 40% non-white, currently only two of the capital’s 32 boroughs have BAME bosses.
Across the nine combined authorities there is 33% female representation and 11% BAME at chief executive level.
Interim chief executive officer of Wokingham Council, Manjeet Gill, warned that the local government sector was ‘in danger of becoming unattractive to young people, especially from a BAME background’.
In a foreword to the report, managing partner of Green Park, Neil Lupin, said: ‘It is incumbent on local government individually and collectively to foster and enable greater levels of inclusion in its most senior ranks.
‘Every local authority has a responsibility to nurture and develop the diverse talent of today, as well as of tomorrow, and to create the most inclusive and representative leadership possible.’
The report added: ‘To build truly diverse and inclusive management teams that reflect the interests of the whole population they represent, local authorities need to ensure they remove racial and gender prejudice from every stage of the sourcing and recruitment process, and seek to help every employee to reach their full potential.’
On ethno-cultural diversity, the report continued: ‘The proportion of BAME representation in local government leadership positions is woeful.
'Considering the drive for local authorities to reflect the communities they serve levels of senior BAME representation are astonishingly low.
‘Considering that 13% of the UK population identifies as non-white the lack of BAME representation in senior local government roles remains a critical concern.
'All too often BAME groups are well represented overall yet are less able to progress to senior positions.’