12 May 2022
Last Thursday, many of us around the country went to the polls to vote in our local council elections. While not as exciting as a general election, with its prospect of seeing major changes in direction for the country, local elections are also important as the councils we elect often have responsibility for many areas that directly affect our lives.
For faith groups, local authorities are often the level of government they deal with the most. Many of the social welfare supports, and social action projects, delivered by faith groups bring them in to contact with a part of their local authority. Historically, these interactions have not always been a positive experience. Faith groups have talked to us about some local authorities being suspicious of working with them, or in the face of major budgetary restrictions, expecting faith groups to pick up the tab for supporting the most vulnerable and in need for free without realising the costs involved to the faith group itself.
However, not all local authorities take this approach. Many actively want to work with faith groups within their areas, and fully recognise the value they bring. Some would like to do more with faith groups, but don’t know where to begin.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society, for which FaithAction provides the secretariat, has developed the Faith Covenant, a document that local authorities and faith groups can sign to show their commitment to working together through a set of principles that guide engagement, aiming to remove some of the mistrust that exists and to promote open, practical working on all levels.
24 local authorities across England have already signed up to the Faith Covenant. As councils come back together after the election to set their agenda for the coming year, with new councillors joining their ranks, and potentially a new party being in control, now is a perfect opportunity for them to consider signing a Faith Covenant and showing their commitment to working with faith groups.
Why not contact your local authority and encourage them to sign up to the Faith Covenant?
To find out more about the Faith Covenant, please visit the APPG website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.