Local Party Diversity Survey

The Results

Before we start...

Who is the Diversity Team at HQ?

We are only a small team (2 people) who are part of the Party Services department

Left to right:

  • Amy Westcott: Head of Party Services. Party Services covers member training, member & supporter services, candidates office and diversity.

  • Natalie Chindipha: Equalities, Engagement and Diversity Manager. Natalie runs everything "diversity" at HQ. She compiles the calendar, briefings and supports our MPs, peers and other leaders with diversity messaging.

Onto the survey...

Who completed it?

  • 424 individuals from 239 Local Parties

  • The majority of people completing the survey do not identify as belonging to a minority group

  • This demonstrates interest in party diversity as the survey was not mandatory

  • It reflects that currently the majority of party officers are heterosexual, able-bodied, white British males

How do respondents perceive their constituency?

Results

  • The majority of respondents say that their local area is predominantly white British

  • Where multiple people from one local party responded, there were discrepancies in how this question was answered

  • 40% believe their local party reflects the ethnic diversity of their constituency

Takeaways/actions

  • Support via diversity structure to local parties to reach out to the minority ethnic groups that are in their area even if their constituency is predominantly white, by using census data

  • Encourage and support these local parties to identify and engage other minority groups (i.e. lower socioeconomic background, LGBT+ communities)

Are local parties making accommodations for minority groups?

Takeaway

  • Whilst it is clear that some accommodations are being made, there is a lot to be done. We need to perhaps break down the benefits of each of these rather than just providing a list of suggestions.

  • HQ Training team to create and distribute a premises assessment sheet.

Do local parties have and engage with Diversity Officers and Regional Diversity Champions?

Results

  • We know that 82 out of 420 local parties currently have a Diversity Officer (DO) in place

  • We know that 7 out of 13 regions in the UK currently have a Regional Diversity Champion (RDC)

  • 40% of participants are from local parties with a DO but engagement is minimal

  • The survey shows that many officers are unaware of their RDC

  • Where they did, communication is said to be minimal

Actions

  • Provide clarity to areas with a predominantly white community around the importance and value of a DO, including clear role description and tasks

  • Ensure local/regional parties are clear on the remit of RDCs and know who their contact is

  • Build a support network for DOs and RDCs and encourage them to be in contact

Do local parties engage with religious leaders?

Results

  • 51% of respondents say they have engaged with their local church community

  • 27% say they have not engaged with any local religious leaders

  • 22% have engaged with their local mosque

Takeaway

  • Many respondents made it clear this was an uncomfortable area, as they did not want to approach religious groups in a way that seemed patronising or preaching. We need to provide guidance as to how to engage with various religious groups and make the benefits of this clear.

What resources are local parties after?

The responses

  • How do local parties get started?

  • Support in encouraging the local party to see diversity as a priority

  • Advice/training on around engaging people with disabilities

  • Advice on attracting communities who traditionally vote Tory/Labour

  • How, where, when to approach communities

  • Resources in various languages

  • Party resources/policies which are relevant to BAME communities and underrepresented groups

  • Letter/poster/survey templates

  • Recruitment campaign plans

  • Unconscious bias training

  • Support to set up candidate diversity fund

Are local parties using the resources provided?

Responses:

  • 76% of respondents were not aware of any resources provided by HQ

  • 74% of those who answered yes, said they do not make use of these resources

Takeaways:

  • We need to revisit the way resources are distributed and advertised

  • We did not ask why resources were not used but this would be useful to understand

  • More resources as listed in the previous question would be potentially beneficial but limited staff capacity poses a challenge here

  • With the release of the toolkit, we would like to run another survey in early 2021 to see if there is any change.

Other feedback

  • There was some eagerness to have an understanding of the diversity projects happening at HQ and elsewhere

  • 23% contributed a success story, these were generally regarding elections of councillors, candidates who identify as belonging to a minority group. It would be good to be able to share these in a networking group or Facebook

  • The rest left this question blank and in hindsight it would have been useful to ask whether they had plans around diversity for 2020

  • There was concern from some that the executives were not open to change or felt diversity provisions were not a priority

  • Others were very open to ideas but unclear where to start

So where to from here?

The plan

  • The Federal People Development Committee has taken these results on board and is working on a strategic plan, which will set clear goals and outcomes.

  • The HQ Diversity team will provide a toolkit with resources to support local parties to reach out to underrepresented groups.

  • We will continue to provide briefings on key diversity dates and will post on social media pages as well as sending via email.

  • We will deliver unconscious bias and accessibility training to local parties who are interested in the Autumn.

This is only the beginning, we have lots to do! But together, with some creativity and planning... we will create change.

That's it from us!

Thank you for taking the time to read this report and for all you do for the party and your communities.

For any questions off the back of this document, please email us at diversity@libdems.org.uk