Northumberland’s Labour Group’s policy of parental and adoption leave for councillors to put them on a par with council staff has finally gone through.
Labour Group leader Scott Dickinson, who proposed the motion, said: “The role of a councillor should be open to all, regardless of their background, and a parental leave policy is a step towards encouraging a wider range of working age people to become councillors. It is also a step towards encouraging existing councillors who may want to start a family or those who find themselves with caring responsibilities to remain as councillors.
“We bent over backwards to ensure the way the motion was phrased was acceptable to all councillors because we strongly believe this development will encourage a wider range of people to come into politics. To witness the Liberal Democrat leader says it’s acceptable for councillors to just not turn up to meetings is living in the Dark Ages. Labour councillors take attendance at council meetings very seriously and they turn up, as those who put them there would expect them to.”
Rebecca Wilczek, member for Bedlington East, who seconded the motion said: “Dozens of councils have brought in policies on parental, adoption, and carer leave for councillors. It’s about time we followed suit.”
Scott Dickinson added: “Our council should be supportive and inclusive and it should reflect the population it serves.
“We’re pleased that the motion gained overwhelming cross party support. The vast majority, with one or two notable exceptions, could see that it makes complete sense and brings the council into the 21st century.”