West Midlands Civic Leadership Programme 2012/13

Operation Black Vote
West Midlands' Civic Leadership Programme

Programme Outline

Introduction: West Midlands' Civic Leaders

Operation Black Vote is delighted to launch a unique Civic Leadership Programme to nurture Birmingham and Wolverhampton's future leaders. The aim of the project is to address the deficit of Black and minority ethnic individuals (BME) in all areas and at all levels of civic and public life.

Building upon the unprecedented success of Operation Black Vote's award winning Shadowing Schemes - MP, Magistrates, Councillor, National Assembly for Wales and Parole Board - this project aims to help tackle the under representation of BME individuals in many areas of civic and public life and also demystify the functions of key public institutions.

Programme aims and objectives:

  • To gain invaluable experience of life as a Public Appointee
  • To give participants the opportunity to explore their chosen areas of public life and elected office
  • To obtain a variety of transferable skills and the confidence to use those skills to consider becoming a civic leader
  • To equip participants with both the knowledge and the confidence to speak to others about civic engagement, and how they may get involved.
  • To improve the representation of BME communities in areas of public life throughout Birmingham and Wolverhampton
  • To give Public Appointees the opportunity to gain greater understanding of different aspects of the diverse communities they seek to serve.

Who is eligible?

The programme will be taking place across two cities: Wolverhampton and Birmingham. We are looking for 25 dynamic BME individuals from each city, aged 18 years or over who live or work in Birmingham or Wolverhampton with a keen interest in positively contributing to their community.

What does the programme comprise of?

The programme will be based in Birmingham and Wolverhampton and will comprise approximately 10-12 non-consecutive days from February 2013 - August 2013 (number of days will vary from a minimum of 8 days to a maximum of 12 days dependent upon number of areas of public life you wish to observe).

Individuals will participate in a mixture of observation and training sessions across four areas of public life in their respective city. Candidates may choose between 2-4 areas of public life from the following areas:

Education: School Governors
Criminal Justice System: Safer Neighbourhood Panels
Politics: Councillor
Voluntary Sector: Trustees

The initiative will focus on giving participants first hand knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of Councillors, Trustees and other public appointees and an insight into the systems and procedures of public bodies. Our aim is that upon completion, this leadership programme will equip and motivate participants to engage in public life. Participants will also be encouraged to become Community Ambassadors, explaining and promoting the benefits of civic engagement and encouraging others to also become involved in community affairs. The scheme will also give Board Members and public appointees an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of BME communities. OBV view this process as essential to involving BME communities in the wide scope of activities within the decision making process.

The Process

OBV will select a total of 50 BME men and women (25 from each city) to participate in the programme. Candidates will comprise a mix of BME communities.

Participants will follow a programme devised by OBV that allows a unique perspective of the work of the four areas of public life: School Governor, Councillor, Trustees, Safer Neighbourhood Panel Member.

Participants will attend observation and training sessions which will allow them to become familiar with:

  • How each area of public life works
  • Roles and responsibilities of being a Public Appointee
  • The process and procedures of each area of public life
  • Benefit to the community of each area of public life
  • How Public Appointments are made

The scheme also includes a learning seminar looking at areas such as:

  • Developing leadership techniques
  • Presentation and public speaking skills
  • Importance of civic activism
  • Issues regarding race, equality and BME representation

Requirements of Applicants:

  • Applicants must be 18 years or over
  • Must demonstrate a genuine interest in community affairs
  • Must be able to commit between 10-12 working days to complete the programme.
    (Number of days will vary from a minimum of 6 days to a maximum of 12 days dependent
    upon number of areas of public life you wish to observe).

Is there a fee?

No. There is not a cost to participate on the programme as OBV are keen to promote the benefits of BME engagement in civic life.

Travel and food costs will be reimbursed for observation sessions and training days.

What happens when the scheme has finished?

OBV's Shadowing Schemes and leadership programmes have received numerous awards for their ability to inform and inspire. Many graduates have become Cllrs, Magistrates, School Governors, with others creating political history, such as Helen Grant MP, the UK's first Conservative woman MP of African Caribbean descent.

Our aim is that upon completion, this leadership programme will equip participants with the skills and motivations to engage in public life. All participants who successfully complete the programme will be awarded with a certificate of recognition.

In addition, participants will join OBV's Alumni programme, which will provide assistance, support and networking opportunities to further develop your civic aspirations.

What is the next step?

If you are interested in becoming a future civic leader of the West Midlands, complete the application form and return it to OBV by Friday 7th December 2012.


For further information: 

Email civicleaders@obv.org.uk or

Call Francine Fernandes , Assistant Director on 0208 983 5426.

Please note that interviews will take place in Birmingham and Wolverhampton and will take place in January 2013. (Candidates will only be required to attend one of the interview dates)


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