Southend Council has said it will do more to encourage residents to get involved in local politics after a campaign group revealed it is among the least diverse authorities in England.

The pressure group Operation Black Vote analysed the number of councillors in single tier authorities from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and found that all 51 of Southend’s councillors are from a white British background.

This is despite ethnic minorities making up almost 9 per cent of the population – a figure that could be higher due to it being based on data from the 2011 census.

The campaigners ranked Southend as the fifth worst in the country for representation.

By comparison, Thurrock Council which is the only other single tier authority in Essex has three BAME councillors with ethnic minorities making up 14 per cent of the overall population.

Alison Griffin, chief executive officer of Southend Council, said: “Whilst it is ultimately the electorate who decide who becomes a local ward councillor, councils can do more to help make it clearer to the whole community what the role of a councillor is, and how to go about becoming one.

“Whilst we already do a lot of work to ensure voter registration and to promote local democracy, through our Southend 2050 ambition we are committed to providing more accessible information on how members of the local community can become local councillors whether they are a member of a political party or not.”

The findings also revealed that of the 7,306 councillors in all single-tier authorities, 1,026 are BAME. However, they are disproportionately affiliated with the Labour Party at 84.2 per cent, followed by the Conservative Party at 10.9 per cent.

The Liberal Democrats had just 3.1 per cent and 1.8 per cent are affiliated with other parties or independents.

Simon Woolley, director of Operation Black Vote, said: “Some of the data makes very depressing reading. The findings appear to show that some local political leaders really don’t care about representative democracy. Leaving communities without a representative voice is a recipe for community breakdown and discord.”