The Faith Covenant was set up by the APPG on Faith and Society in order to facilitate open, practical working between faith communities and local authorities, removing mistrust and encouraging collaboration according to a mutually agreed set of guiding principles. Since 2015, 13 local authorities have signed up the Covenant, with many others expressing interest in recent months as a result of the crucial role that faith communities have played in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Faith Covenant works not only to establish an initial working relationship between faith communities and local authorities in a city or county, but also acts as an effective means of capitalising on pre-existing, fruitful relationships and keeping that momentum going. For that reason, while many areas are currently exploring establishing a Faith Covenant for the first time, others are planning to ‘refresh’ and recommit to the Faith Covenant, in order to celebrate and harness the momentum of the close working relationship that has developed in their area during the past year.
Moreover, for the first time, the Faith Covenant has also been receiving interest from commissioners who are not from local or county councils. The APPG has recently held consulting calls with a wide range of organisations from housing associations to the British Army. The Faith Covenant is set up as a draft agreement that may be tailored to the needs and goals of a local area, and despite the initial aims of the APPG during its conception, there is no reason why the Covenant may not also be redrafted to facilitate a closer working relationship between faith communities and other non-council organisations at a local, county or regional level.
Chair of the APPG on Faith and Society, Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, said:
I very much welcome the interest we have had recently in the Covenant.
Faith groups have vital resources which are crucial for community wellbeing, and which cannot be found anywhere else. As such, we need our public institutions to be able to work confidently with people whose starting point is religious faith. The Covenant can help achieve this.
The APPG looks forward to continuing these conversations and encourages any other organisations, councils and faith communities interested in adopting the Faith Covenant to get in touch with FaithAction, secretariat to the APPG, by emailing [email protected] or calling 0800 804 8829.