Equalities, diversity and inclusion in leadership

Inspiring local communities and creating a better future requires ambitious and representative leadership, which is at the heart of a healthy democracy.

Our leadership and managerial development programmes offer support to local politicians and officers to promote fairness, tackle inequality and enable greater diversity and inclusion.


Leadership Essentials: Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion

This new interactive Leadership Essentials programme brings together councillors from around the country to share best practise and ideas. It brings voices from other parts of the public sector together with experts and member peers from local government and the community. The aim of the four-part programme is to equip councillors with the skills to be EDI ‘champions’, in order to better understand and represent the needs of the diverse communities they serve.

Weekenders for young councillors, women and councillors from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds

Our Young Councillors Weekender event is designed to give councillors aged 40 and under an opportunity to benefit from focused leadership skills development designed to help them make progress in their political career. The event also provides a chance to meet with and build up a network of other young councillors from different political parties and parts of the country.

Our Women Councillors Weekender is a cross-party, two-day event which provides an opportunity for women councillors to network and share experiences with those attending. Through a range of interactive and exploratory sessions, the programme considers the active role that women councillors can play in promoting positive changes in their organisations and communities. It also offers the chance to develop personal and political skills and to build confidence.

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Councillors Weekender programme provides a unique learning and networking opportunity for elected members from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds who are committed to developing their leadership effectiveness and in many cases, their careers. Helping councillors in their existing roles and providing a bridge to more senior leadership positions are key aims of all the leadership programmes: the LGA recognises that this will be supported by ensuring a better representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic councillors at senior and influential levels nationally.

There will be conceptual and practical explorations of the notion of ‘leadership’ across a range of fronts, with a focus on preparing participants for leading roles in communities and councils. This will be set in the context of the opportunities and challenges that confront elected members – in particular those of Black, Asian and minority ethnic heritage in our increasingly complex and fast-changing environment.

Please contact Grace Collins at Grace.Collins@local.gov.uk for further details.

Be a Councillor campaign

The LGA’s Be a Councillor campaign is designed to encourage a diverse range of people to stand for local election by raising awareness of the role with people who may not see themselves as a ‘typical’ councillor. Information and resources are available for members of the public on the Be a Councillor website. A toolkit to help councils run their own local campaigns is also available on the website, with access to direct and bespoke support by emailing beacouncillor@local.gov.uk.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion E-Learning module for councillors

This module considers the implications of the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty 2011. It looks at the provisions of the Act and the protected characteristics within it, as well as how the legislation applies to elected members both in a community leadership context. 

The module explores how councillors can act as effective community leaders to build social inclusion. In addition, it looks at how not complying with the Act might lead to issues around discrimination, harassment and victimisation for councillors in their roles. Councillors can find more information and register for this module via our elearning portal .

National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP)

The NGDP is our flagship graduate programme, which provides a pipeline of talented future leaders for local government. It offers graduates the chance to work directly with communities and influence policies and plans at a senior level; all while earning a graduate salary and completing our council-specific leadership and management qualification. Following an independent review of the programme in 2019, the programme has undertaken a series of steps to ensure greater diversity, including:

  • The use of an expert supplier to deliver targeted marketing for students and graduates from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and work undertaken with universities to support a diversity of applications. 
  • Online assessment stages have been updated with a stronger focus on reducing adverse impact against particular groups.
  • Coaching and support is offered to candidates from under-represented groups throughout the recruitment process.

Over 28 per cent of applicants recruited in Autumn 2020 identified as being from Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. Women also represent more than 50 per cent of graduates on NGDP.

By attracting new and diverse talent to the local government workforce, the NGDP ensures that councils better represent the communities they serve.


The following collection of resources and toolkits is designed to inform and facilitate greater equality, diversity and inclusion in local leadership: