LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Council appoints a new Equalities Champion

By Lucy Ashton

West Dunbartonshire Council has appointed a  new Equalities Champion to promote equality, fairness and diversity across the area.

Councillor Diane Docherty, sister of Martin Docherty, the SNP MP for West Dunbartonshire, and joined at the hip sidekick of Cllr Caroline McAllister, the failed Alba candidate in the recent Scottish Parliament elections, was nominated for the role which will ensure every voice is heard, everyone’s interests catered for and concerns addressed.

West Dunbartonshire also appointed Cllr Docherty as the Older People’s Champion  after a request from the Scottish Older People’s Assembly for each local authority  to introduce a representative to ensure older people’s views are heard and identify issues affecting them locally.

Councillor Docherty will ensure the Council’s policies and working practices are underpinned by a robust equality and diversity strategy that reflects its culture and promotes equal opportunity and fairness.

Councillor Docherty, pictured right, said: “I am delighted to take over this very important role and I firmly  believe  everyone has the right to be treated fairly and with respect. I will ensure all groups are represented equally and  carry out this role on behalf of the people of West Dunbartonshire with great pride.

“It is important that, as a local authority, we are fully committed to the ethos behind a clear equality and diversity policy and that we promote inclusivity at every opportunity, whether it is through staff recruitment and working practices or through public events.

“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted and deepened existing inequalities for some groups and this role will help build a bridge, foster good relations and  make our work around equality, diversity and inclusion a priority for everyone.”

Clydebank Seniors Forum representative, Rhona Young, said: “ We are delighted  the Council has appointed a representative who will  listen, raise ideas and  concerns of older people across West Dunbartonshire. We need consultation, communications and consideration. We look forward to working with  Councillor Docherty  who can feedback to the authority our views to ensure older people be heard and together we can shape services that best meets the needs of people who use them. Congratulations to Councillor Docherty on her appointment and I look forward to working with her.”

Vale of Leven Age Concern representative, Kate Coleman, said: “We are delighted to hear that our local authority has incorporated the remit of Older People’s Champion into the role of the Equalities Champion.  We look forward to meeting with the newly appointed Councillor Docherty in the future to allow her to represent the aging population of West Dunbartonshire and ensure their views as heard.  I firmly believe the best people to shape and inform Older People’s services are the older people who will use them.  We welcome any opportunity to work with our Champion to ensure that older people’s voices are not just heard, but listened to and acted upon. ”

Top of page: Picture of Cllr Diane Docherty (centre) in her role as housing convener at West Dunbartonshire Council.

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