05 Mar 2015

New city Faith Covenant officially signed at civic hall

Picture caption: (L-R) - Cllr Peter Gruen, the Reverend Canon Charles Dobbin and Daniel Singleton, executive director of FaithAction, at the signing of the city's Faith Covenant.

A new covenant setting out the principles which will underpin future partnership and engagement work between Leeds City Council and faith and belief organisations has been officially signed this week.

This follows the approval of a report by Leeds City Council’s executive board in February 2015 which looking at how the authority and faith and belief groups could strengthen further their relationship, recommended the formation of a covenant as a basis to promote open practical working at all levels in the future. As part of the discussions which formed the executive report, the council, in partnership with the University of Leeds, consulted a range of faith and belief groups including the Leeds Faiths Forum and FaithAction.

The Faith Covenant will practically focus on developing the following key areas. These include:

• Sharing examples of work already being undertaken, in particular best practice;

• Ensure the council and the religion and belief sector share learning and development opportunities where possible.

• Provide clarity around the availability of support and funding from the council and third sector and;

• Ensure the religion or belief sector take part fully in city wide and local community consultations to inform the delivery of services.

At the official signing of the covenant at Leeds Civic Hall included Leeds City Council deputy leader Cllr Peter Gruen, national executive director of FaithAction Daniel Singleton and chair of Leeds Faiths Forum, the Reverend Canon Charles Dobbin.

To find out more about the covenant, please see: http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s127195/Covenant%20Cover%20Report%20Appendices%20300115.pdf

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader said:

"We are delighted to sign this covenant, which underlines the council’s ongoing commitment to build positive relationships and partnerships with all faith and belief groups in our city

"Included in the covenant are a range of principles which will guide our future work with faith and belief groups. This will not only be beneficial in helping us engage better with residents in our communities, but also inform how the delivery of important council services can be further improved."

The Reverend Canon Charles Dobbin, chair of the Leeds Faiths Forum said:

"I really welcome the covenant between the Leeds City Council and the faith communities in Leeds.

"The covenant will address potential tensions in Leeds by helping faith communities to build up cooperation as a matter of ordinary life rather than crisis management. It is an enlightened step forward, recognising and building on the work done by Leeds Faiths Forum over the last 14 years."

Daniel Singleton, executive director of FaithAction said:

"FaithAction members are involved in making a positive difference to their communities through social action projects the length and breadth of the country. Faith really is too significant to ignore and here in Leeds it’s fantastic to see how the council has recognised this. Leeds City Council is one of the earliest adopters of the covenant, and hopefully this will encourage other local authorities across the UK to empower faith organisations to both expand their social action programmes while also providing greater transparency in their governance."

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team