Bishop of Willesden joins Brent Multi-Faith Forum in launching new Faith Covenant
The Bishop of Willesden has given his signature to the newly launched Faith Covenant, between Brent Council and the many local faith-based organisations based within the London Borough of Brent.
The Faith Covenant, which was formally launched at Brent Civic Centre in November 2017, is a commitment between faith groups led by Brent Multi-Faith Forum and the Council to a set of principles which not only recognise the value which faith communities bring to the Borough, but are also designed to ensure that people of different faiths can practice their beliefs with respect and without discrimination.
It also commits faith-based organisations to continuing to promote interfaith dialogue and community outreach, as well as enshrines their responsibilities in matters of transparency and safeguarding.
The Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden, said:
“It’s heartening to see a local authority taking faith seriously. This covenant is the fruit of a lot of hard work on the part of Brent Multi-Faith Forum. In a borough where 82% of the population are people of faith, we are committed to working together for the common good.”
The Faith Covenant entails the following commitments.
Brent Council commits to welcoming the involvement of faith groups in the delivery of services and social action on an equal basis with other groups. In addition, Brent Council commits to:
- Actively building trust, and sustaining productive relationships with faith-based organisations;
- Ensuring faith-based organisations are included in appropriate consultation and civic engagement events;
- Encouraging faith groups and their members to be involved in the reshaping and redesign of local services;
- Developing awareness raising and training opportunities between faith communities and the local authority;
- Seeking to develop opportunities for the council and faith organisations to work together creatively;
- Providing open and transparent communication in all aspects regarding funding;
- Clearly communicating the Council’s obligations under the Equality Act 2010, and the Public Sector Equality Duty, the Human Rights Act 1998, and other relevant legislation; and ensuring that its partners are adhering to its Equality and Diversity strategy;
- Respect and understand the underlying humanitarian ethical values of the faith communities.
Faith-based organisations commit to work actively with local authorities in the design and delivery of services to the public. In addition, they commit to:
- Seeking opportunities to bring people together to serve the community, particularly its poorest and most isolated members;
- Serving all local residents seeking to access non-religious, public services equally, without proselytising, irrespective of their religion, gender, marital status, race, ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation, mental capacity, or long-term condition;
- Ensuring excellence in child protection, health and safety, accountability and transparency;
- Responding to consultations where appropriate;
- Developing and sharing training and learning opportunities between faith communities and Partners for Brent;
- Understand the 2010 Equality Act (link) and Brent Equality strategy and policy (link), challenging the Council to deliver the services accordingly where appropriate.
Brent is one of the most religiously diverse areas in the whole of the UK, and is home to more people with faith on average than in both London and England with 82% declaring a faith compared to 68 and 71%. As well as the six main beliefs (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism and Sikhism) Brent has followers of 36 other religions, including just under 2,500 Jains, 178 Rastafarians, and 152 Zoroastrians.