Many councils appoint councillors as ‘champions’ to promote and represent particular groups within their area. For instance one of the most common is an Armed Forces Champion.
The template Council Motion below calls for the creation of a Disability and Equalities Champion. It is based on an excellent motion from the Lib Dem group on Tonbridge and Malling District Council.
- You can find their original motion here.
The template motion below includes space for some local figures about the number of people living with a disability (as defined under the Equality Act) within your council area taken from the 2021 Census.
- You can find the data for your Council here.
The template motion is below:
Local authorities should welcome and celebrate diversity and difference but at the same time, where necessary, we must ensure staff and Councillors are equipped to understand and respond to the needs of different groups who may have additional hurdles to overcome in accessing services this Council provides and enjoying all [AREA NAME] has to offer.
We should always be willing to see what we could do to better support and understand those who may be disadvantaged in doing so due to disabilities or inequalities – including those with physical disabilities and frailties, deafness, blindness and sight loss, autism and communication difficulties, and socio-economic challenges.
For some context, the latest Census data reveals that within this authority’s area some [XX%] of residents are disabled under the Equality Act. [ADD ANY FURTHER INFORMATION RELATING TO DISIBILITY IN YOUR AREA IN THE 2021 CENSUS HERE].
Members may have their own personal experiences of disability or inequality – if not directly then through family, friends, neighbours or acquaintances. But it is not easy to fully comprehend just what a person living with a lifelong health condition or disability is truly experiencing or just how challenging navigating life can be. Financially, we have all seen our energy bills rise over the last year, but have probably not had to make the choice between putting the heating on or putting food on the table. That is a reality for some of our poorest residents.
We cannot know how to best deliver services for all of our residents unless we engage with, listen to and learn from those who have different life experiences, who face these challenges in their daily lives. Quite rightly, this Council has appointed Armed Forces Champions to raise the profile and needs of the Armed Forces Community. Appointing a Disability and Equalities Champion would similarly raise the profile and needs of those with disabilities and additional needs, and those facing disadvantage and inequality. This will send a very clear and visible message that this Council has at heart the needs of disabled residents and visitors and the way in which they and others who are disadvantaged experience [AREA NAME].
Therefore, this motion asks Council to:
- Recognise the difficulties some residents within and visitors to our area face in accessing every-day services and facilities due to disability, additional need, and other disadvantage including financial inequality.
- Appoint a Councillor as a Disability & Equalities Champion to raise the profile and needs of those with disabilities, additional needs and inequalities within [COUNCIL NAME]. The Disability & Equalities Champion will actively engage with disability and welfare groups and charities and interested individuals to ensure their voice of experience is heard and taken into account in decision making.
- If there is no existing mechanism, the [COUNCIL NAME] will develop a Register of disability and welfare groups and charities within our community and a system for consulting those groups on matters that affect them and those they represent
- Demonstrate its commitment to further developing its understanding and approach to disability and equality needs within [AREA NAME] by inviting interested groups from the Register through the Disability and Equalities Champion to give presentations and information sessions for Councillors to support members to feel informed and equipped with respect to the challenges faced by those within our community who have disabilities, additional needs or who face inequality.