Belfast City Council sets plans for a diverse city

Belfast City Council is the largest council in Northern Ireland with a population of approximately 340,000 living within its boundary.


As the democratically elected body for the people of Belfast, its 60 elected members provide leadership and strategic direction for shaping, developing and managing Belfast city. It employs around 2,500 people and it believes its staff are its best asset to connect with the increasingly diverse population in Belfast. Its Community Plan, the Belfast Agenda, focuses on Belfast being a welcoming, safe, fair and inclusive city for all as well as inclusive growth.

What Belfast City Council did

Belfast City Council’s Community Plan, the Belfast Agenda, focuses on Belfast being a welcoming, safe, fair and inclusive city for all as well as inclusive growth that will have a positive impact on everyone in the city.

It’s Equality Action Plan and other action plans covering disability, gender, race and LGBT+ issues, help put its vision and values into practice – a shared city that people enjoy living in; where people respect each other and value diversity regardless of differing backgrounds or beliefs and can confidently express their identity.

Belfast City Council has gone beyond the statutory requirement as a public body to have a disability action plan in place by also having in place gender, LGBT and race workforce action plans. Diverse staff networks feed into the development of policies, procedures and initiatives and are often involved in events and activities. The Council seeks input from Employers Forum for Disability, The Rainbow Project and The Faith Forum when developing workplace policies and procedures.

Both senior officers and elected representatives are named diversity champions and promote equality and diversity at a very visible level to demonstrate civic leadership in achieving an inclusive and successful city.

For the first time in 2017, Belfast City Council participated in Belfast Pride. This demonstrated that the Council is an inclusive organisation embracing diversity and is supportive of the LGB&T community and its LGB&T staff. Diversity related training on topics such as sexual orientation at work, disability awareness, autism, race are provided for all staff.

Equality and diversity forums at the Council include the Consultative Forum, Disability Advisory Panel, Older People’s Forum and the Youth Forum. The Council’s employability outreach programme targets those furthest removed from the labour market and who face barriers e.g. women; people with disabilities.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • Winner of the Employers for Childcare Family Friendly Awards
  • 2017 NILGA, Best Local Authority Elected Member Development Initiative award for its Women Leaders Programme
  • 2015-2018 Gender Action Plan (GAP)
  • Within the Council’s senior job grade, female representation has increased from 26% (2006) to 48% (2017).
  • Annual events to celebrate International Women’s Day and Transgender Days of Remembrance

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