Brent Council is introducing unconscious bias training for councillors, though whether this will be mandatory is under review.

A report presented to its audit and standards advisory committee yesterday (September 8) showed plans to add this training to its programme of ‘member learning and development’ this year.

Unconscious bias is considered to be learned stereotypes that are automatic, unintentional, deeply ingrained and can affect behaviour.

The council wants to help break this down, while the report noted there will also be specific sections on how to tackle antisemitism and Islamophobia.

It is currently being discussed if this training, along with data protection training, should be compulsory for all councillors.

The announcement comes after a complaint was upheld against Cllr Aslam Choudry, who represents Dudden Hill ward, after he shared an antisemitic video to a community WhatsApp group.

Cllr Choudry, who was found to have broken the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, subsequently issued a public apology and offered to undertake voluntary training on antisemitism.

At a previous audit committee meeting, where the complaint decision was confirmed, Cllr Neil Nerva suggested all councillors be offered training on unconscious bias, including how to tackle all forms of racism and discrimination.

This has now been put forward for review, with the full details of any training set to be confirmed at a later date.

Carolyn Downs, chief executive of Brent Council, explained that all council staff members would receive the training.