Twenty-first Century Councils

This toolkit has been developed to help councils create the underlying policies, procedures, ethos and environment that encourages and empowers women, parents and carers to become local councillors and take on leadership positions.

We encourage councils to consider their existing practices, celebrate what is working, share good practice and take action to support councillors who are women, parents and carers.

The equal participation of women and men in local politics, as our elected councillors and as our leaders, is an important condition for effective democracy and good governance. Representative councils are best able to speak to, and for, their communities and to support the effective business of local government. Democracy and decision-making are strengthened when councillors reflect the people they seek to serve and represent.

The focus of this toolkit is women, parents and carers. You will also find it useful to consider other characteristics including disabilities, BME groups and LGBT+ and how these interact with the participation of councillors who are women, parents and carers.

This toolkit is based on the principles of sector-led improvement, that councils:

  • are responsible for their own performance
  • are accountable locally, not nationally
  • have a sense of collective responsibility for the performance of the sector as a whole
  • are supported by the LGA through tools and support

Through a coordinated approach to sector-led improvement across local government, the LGA helps councils continue their own improvement journey, take up our support tools and offers and contribute to the improvement of local government as a whole.

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