Councils have been ordered to stop referring to “mum and dad” or the “homeless” in a new “inclusive” language guide branded as “woke and patronising”.
The Inclusive Language Guide, published by the Local Government Association (LGA) on Wednesday, tells councils to “avoid” using the phrases ladies and gentlemen, expat, deprived neighbourhoods, second generation, lifestyle choice or economic migrant.
Instead, the LGA encourages the use of “positive language” such as birthing parent, same-sex relationship/family, partners, non-UK nationals and people experiencing disadvantage or poverty.
The 18-page document contains 12 principles for councils to follow, which The Telegraph understands are not binding, that include “respecting people from marginalised and minoritised backgrounds” and recognising that “intention does not always align with impact”.
Mark Lloyd CBE, the chief executive of the LGA, emailed the new rules to all councils in England and Wales, but not everyone received it well.
‘Woke, patronising codswallop’
A senior local government source told The Sun: “This hogwash really does beggar belief.
“Local government workers are in it to make people’s lives better, and treat everyone with dignity and respect. This guide is woke, patronising codswallop.”
The guide states that referring to disabled or able-bodied staff is an office offence and that councils should not “position white, whiteness and eurocentrism as the norm/baseline in communication”.
It goes on to say that “experiences of trauma, racial trauma and exclusion are already experienced at disproportionately higher rates by LGBTQ+, black and neurodivergent people in the workplace”.
Councils are told that terms to avoid when talking about race or ethnicity in the workplace include caucasian, diverse, minority, coloured and foreign people.
Instead, the guide encourages councils to refer “to a person’s ethnicity rather than their race” wherever possible and “recognise that communities often referred to as ‘minorities’ are minoritised by structures and institutions in society”.
The document also states that a worker’s identity or characteristic should be referred to only in circumstances “when it is relevant, necessary and/or led by the person”.
‘Trans and non-binary people also experience pregnancy’
Additionally, the guide states that in the case of pregnancy, maternity and parenting it encourages “remembering that trans and non-binary people also experience pregnancy and give birth”.
Council heads were told the new guide will help them to understand the role that language plays in “embedding equality, equity, diversity and inclusion” in the workplace.
Laurelle Brown, an equity, diversity and inclusion expert and consultant who is credited with authoring the guide, said: “The guide is arranged across four levels of influence - organisational, leadership, interpersonal and intrapersonal - all are important.”
In a Twitter post on Wednesday, she said it was “great” to see the guide now live on the LGA’s website and added: “In work with children and young, inclusion within the workplace cannot be separated from that of practice - you need to prioritise both.”
The LGA told The Telegraph: “Councils are committed to ensuring that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
“This guide is designed to help councils ensure everyone is supported and respected when they look to their local public services for help.”