Conwy Council to encourage young people to get involved in politics

CHILDREN and young people in Conwy will be encouraged to get involved in council business to improve democracy and diversity within Conwy’s council chambers.

Conwy’s democratic services committee received a letter from Welsh Government as part of a consultation process aimed at promoting diversity amongst councillors in future elections by removing barriers.

Conwy acknowledged the letter and agreed to open a dialogue with Welsh Government to see where improvements could be made, encouraging diversity and allowing those of working age to stand as councillors.

Conwy also noted that more needed to be done to support private-sector workers when standing for election.

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But during the debate, Conwy councillor Sian Grady said more local people and especially young people needed to be involved with the council.

“I do agree there is an awful lot of the public that we don’t get anywhere near, that we don’t see,” said Cllr Grady.

“They don’t get involved in anything to do with the council. They don’t vote, and I think they are the people who we need on the council, and they are the people we need to get to somehow.

“The information is not out there. One of the best conversations I’ve had is with a 16 year old who is doing his A-levels, and he was amazing to speak to, and hopefully, he’ll go a long way politically, and those are the people we need to invite in and educate the children.”

She added: “Just because their parents don’t vote and don’t engage with us, we can always educate the children.

“I’d get them involved, bring them in, show them around, show them what we are all about, bring them to meetings.

“I know it is very difficult as an open invitation, but (we should) actually get the schools in and bring them into us.”

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Council officer Sian Williams then informed Cllr Grady that local schools were already being invited to Conwy’s Bodlondeb HQ to get a feel for the building and even hold school council meetings – with Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy being the first.

Councillors were then informed they would soon be encouraged to invite their local school to the council chamber.

Councillors heard how the council’s hybrid home working policy, flexi-time policy and special leave for public duties policy made it easier for its employees to stand for election – but only within other neighbouring authorities.

Council Officer Sian Williams explained that currently whilst many of Conwy’s staff were permitted to stand for election for Conwy County Council, they would have to resign from their council job if elected, due to a conflict of interests.

Councillors heard how the number of candidates standing for the election in Conwy had increased from 131 in 2017 to 151 in 2022.

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The number of female candidates also increased from 33.59% in 2017 to 37.09% in 2022.

The age of candidates had also dropped.

The category with the highest number of candidates in the 2017 election was those aged 61-70.

In 2022 the highest number were those aged 51-60. The percentage of election candidates aged 18-30 also increased from 3% to 11%.

North Wales Pioneer | Llandudno