Bid for councillor parental leave policy delayed to ensure political backing

Efforts to drag working practices at Northumberland County Council “out of the dark ages” have been delayed to ensure they win cross party support.

By James Harrison
Thursday, 8th July 2021, 4:40 pm
Scott Dickinson, leader of the Labour group on Northumberland County Council.
Scott Dickinson, leader of the Labour group on Northumberland County Council.

The local authority’s Labour group had planned to make an official call for a parental leave policy to be extended to county councillors.

But after acknowledging the effort was unlikely to win enough political support to succeed, bosses agreed to head back to the drawing board.

“We very much want to push the council to agree the parental leave policy and ensure Northumberland County Council is dragged out of the dark ages,” said Scott Dickinson, leader of the county council’s Labour opposition.

“But prior discussion revealed not enough support to get it through, so after a tweak I have it down to go in September and am hopefully going to achieve cross party support in doing so.”

Addressing the full council, the Labour leader claimed the opportunity to “iron out some wording” would give the plans a chance to succeed, a decision which was supported by Conservative county councillor Barry Flux, the chairman of the local authority.

Several local authorities in the North East have already approved parental leave policies for their councillors, in an attempt to make standing for election more attractive to a wider portion of society.

Sunderland City Council agreed to adopt new terms for councillors in 2018, followed by Newcastle City Council in 2019.

Durham County Council followed suit earlier this year (January 2021), after its plans were delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, with an offer of maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption leave.