New Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) speakers in local democracy

Two key new appointments have been made to sit at the heart of Brighton & Hove’s democratic decision making

Earlier this year the council made a public pledge to be an anti-racist council and work towards Brighton & Hove becoming an anti-racist city. Ensuring the diverse perspectives and lived experiences of BME people are heard in local decision making will help towards this vision of an anti-racist city. 

The two new invitees to council decision making committees are voluntary positions but will have full speaking rights. Speaking in August, the leaders of the three political groups jointly said: “As political leaders we recognise that the council must be actively anti-racist and use our privilege, platforms and resources to challenge and remove structural racism wherever we can, both within the council itself and throughout our city.

“We’re united in wanting our actions and decision making to reflect our anti-racist commitment and include our Black, minority ethnic and faith communities.”

The council received applications from a number of high calibre candidates across business, academia, public services and social activists.

Given the quality of the candidates, the interviewing panel that had representatives from the BME Community, alongside the leaders of the three political groups in the council, decided to recommend the appointment of one candidate as a standing invitee to the Policy & Resources Committee and a second one to the Tourism, Equality, Culture and Communities (TECC) Committee.

Tourism, Equality, Culture and Communities Committee appointment

The person the panel recommended for appointment to the TECC Committee is Stephanie Prior. Currently, she works as a Business Development & Marketing Manager for an international law firm based in Brighton.

Stephanie has been instrumental in creating a platform for women in business to build their professional network, learn from experts and develop businesses. She has represented BME people in the beauty industry and challenged the commercial ideology of beauty that does not embrace diversity. 

Speaking about the appointment Stephanie said: "I am extremely honoured to have been given the opportunity to make history by joining Brighton & Hove City Council as a Standing Invitee and to represent the Black and Minority Ethnic community.

"Whether it be age, gender or race, it’s extremely important for politics (on a local and national level) to embrace diversity to support a fair and democratic society for all. I look forward to working towards positive changes for our city.”

Councillor Steph Powell, Co-Chair of the TECC Committee said: “Stephanie is passionate about equalities and social justice, and combines that passion with highly developed business and marketing skills. 

“We're so pleased she has joined the TECC Committee, which will so greatly benefit from her passion, expertise and contributions particularly as this committee has particularly responsibility for driving forward equalities and anti-racism work. 

Policy & Resources (P&R) Committee appointment 

Dr Anusree Biswas Sasidharan has joined the P&R Committee. She currently works for the Local Government Association as a Safeguarding Programme Advisor and as  a Research Equalities Consultant, with many years of experience of equality and inclusion strategy, policy and training that extends across the third sector, local government, health, think tanks and the education sector. 

Her most recent community representation roles include as ‘ethnic and cultural minorities’ representative for Community Works and as an attendee to the TECC Committee and chair of the Sussex Police Stop Search Panel.

Dr Anusree Biswas Sasidharan said in response to the appointment: “I am delighted to be appointed to the P & R committee as a standing invitee and given an opportunity to champion inclusion within the council. I hope this role enables me to embed equalities and diversity within the heart and spirit of Brighton & Hove City Council.” 

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, Chair of the P&R Committee and Leader of the Council said: “Dr Anusree Biswas Sasidharan’s experience and commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion will bring so much to our council and city. 

“She will be able to draw upon her deep knowledge and experiences while sitting on the council’s central policy committee which considers some of the most important areas to the council including our budget, corporate plan, city development and more.

“On behalf of the council I want to thank everyone in these roles, and welcome both Stephanie and Dr Anusree Biswas Sasidharan to these two committees. 

“We know that there is much more that must happen in the council and throughout the city to work towards becoming anti-racist and there is more to do; we must continue to outline more ways we can elevate the voices of under-represented communities.

"I’m delighted that these two important committees will now hear from our new invitees; a diversity of perspectives improves both decision making and democracy.”

Find out more about the pledge to be an anti-racist council

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Anti-racist city

Action to become an anti-racist council

A report at a special meeting of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture committee on Wednesday 29 July set out a package of action to make Brighton & Hove a fairer and more inclusive city as part of our commitment to being an anti-racist council.