New blueprint launched in Ballymena to improve diversity and equality throughout Northern Ireland’s councils

Pictured L-R is Raymond McFeeters (Principal, Castle Tower School), Anne Donaghy (Chair of the Equality and Diversity Group), Brian Hanna (Chairman of LGSC) and Helen Hall (Director of Corporate Services (LGSC). Councils across Northern Ireland are uniting behind a plan to boost equality and diversity throughout local government.

A REVAMPED Equality and Diversity Strategy and Action Plan was launched at Castle Tower School, Ballymena, by the Local Government Staff Commission’s Equality and Diversity Group.

The Equality and Diversity Group is made up of representatives from across local government, as well as trade unions and key external partners, including the Equality Coalition, the Community Relations Council and the Equality Commission.

Pictured L-R are Orla King (Danske Bank), Anne Donaghy (Chair of the Equality and Diversity Group), Ald Gerardine Mulvenna (Mid and East Antrim BC) and Bill Atkinson (CEx, USEL)


The group is bringing together equality and diversity practices across the sector and is committed to integrating and building on the ongoing work of the region’s 11 councils.

Through the new strategy and action plan, it aims to help deliver more equal and shared communities, increased care for others and those in need, and a more confident, welcoming and outward-looking society.

Chair of the Equality and Diversity Group, Anne Donaghy, said the rollout of the new framework was a welcome and key step to ensuring local government is delivering for all its citizens in Northern Ireland.

Anne is also SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers) Northern Ireland Champion for disability matters.

She said: “As a Council chief executive I see it as our duty to mainstream equality and diversity into all our Council decisions and our services in order to adapt to a changing society.

“As the mother of a child with Down syndrome, I know first-hand the challenges faced on a regular basis in order to get services provided around my child’s diverse needs.

“Public sector service provision needs to be more flexible, as a one-size fits all approach doesn’t work.

“Local councils must be the leaders of a more inclusive society.”

Director of Recruitment and Diversity for the Local Government Staff Commission, Lorna Parsons, said: “Our work seeks to bring together equality and diversity practices across the local government sector.

“We aspire to integrate the priorities of the Equality and Diversity Group with the ongoing work of individual councils.

“The ongoing support of elected members, partners, stakeholders and statutory agencies, along with the commitment from officers, diversity champions and members of the Equality and Diversity Group, will drive our performance to deliver on the commitments set out within our Equality and Diversity Strategy and Action Plan.”

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