Faith and Belief Advisory Panel
About Greater Manchester’s equality panels
The Greater Manchester Equality Panels have been established to advise, support and challenge Greater Manchester’s political leaders and policy-makers to tackle the discrimination and disadvantage that cause injustice and inequality in society, and champion Greater Manchester as an inclusive city-region. They do this by working together with the GMCA and partners to:
Provide insight into Greater Manchester’s diverse communities, enabling political leaders and public bodies to listen and engage in a more targeted and effective way
Communicate key messages to our communities as trusted sources
Codesign policies, programmes and strategies to ensure they work effectively for communities
Support an asset-based approach, highlighting new opportunities (and challenges) for positive collaboration that build on the resources and strengths within our communities
The Faith and Belief Advisory Panel is one of seven equality panels established and funded by the GMCA. Other equality panels include:
- Disabled People’s Equality Panel
- LGBTQ+ Equality Panel
- Race Equality Panel
- Older People’s Equality Panel
- Women and Girls' Equality Panel
- Youth Combined Authority
Aims of the Faith and Belief Advisory Panel
Greater Manchester’s Faith and Belief Advisory Panel was established in March 2021 and meets every two months to discuss issues relating to faith and belief equality. They work towards resolving these issues in four main ways:
Optimise the faith and belief contribution to the Greater Manchester Strategy
Sustainability and equality outcomes are achieved through collaboration on shared missions and experience, making best use of assets and resources in the community
Ensure that the role of faith and belief in society is recognised and valued
Faith and belief organisations are a respected partner, alongside the public, private and voluntary sectors, and their voice is equally heard in policy and decision making
Foster good relations and dialogue between people of faith and belief (who share a protected characteristic) and people who do not share it
Greater Manchester’s cultural heritage and history of community inclusion and social justice is championed
Advance equality of opportunity and eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation (and any other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty) between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it
Public agencies are proactive in their approaches to meet their Public Sector Equality Duty and tackle all forms of discrimination within their organisation and the structure they contribute to in relation to faith and belief
The Faith and Belief Advisory Panel oversees the progress of public agencies in tackling inequality, tracking agreements to improve equity and providing insight to inform new ways of working. In addition, the panel works collaboratively with public service officers to design new ways of working, which positively uses the assets, strengths and resources in our community, engages partners and local people at the earliest possible stage, and prioritises creating an inclusive society that recognises all faiths and beliefs have full and equal rights.
The Panel’s priorities come from faith and belief networks and organisations represented - via the panel members. Panel members engage in existing Greater Manchester Action Networks, which currently focus on:
A Real Living Wage city-region
No Child Should Go Hungry campaign
Reduce homelessness and end the need for rough sleeping
Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Accord
The Panel proactively contributes to each one of these priorities, through the structures set up to achieve them. Panel members’ are involved as delegated representatives, and input into discussion and activities on behalf of the Panel.
Faith and Belief in Greater Manchester: A statement
The Faith and Belief in Greater Manchester contribution statement was developed by the panel to affirm the significant role of Faith and Belief in society and the support faith organisations provide, often to the most disadvantaged, both in terms of spiritual wellbeing and practical services.
The statement sets out:
(i) The importance of values
(ii) The distinctive role of faith in society
(iii) The contribution of faith groups
(iv) The practical collaborations
(v) The aspects essential to the development and sustaining of good partnerships
The Faith and Belief Advisory Panel consists of 33 organisations. They represent all boroughs across Greater Manchester, as well as aiming to reflect the city-region’s diverse faiths and beliefs. To ensure the Panel is inclusive, membership is open to new networks. For further information contact the facilitators (details below).
The Panel is co-chaired by Jill Brennan (Faiths United Tameside and Soka Gakkai International) and Rabbi Warren Elf (Faith Network for Manchester and the Greater Manchester Interfaith Network).