Bloom Review calls for councils to prioritise religion through Faith Partnership Charters

11 May, 2023

The Bloom Review has called for the introduction of ‘Faith Partnership Charters’ between local authorities in England and faith groups, encouraging yet more religion in the state. Humanists UK is deeply concerned by this proposal, and warns against extending special treatment to religious groups.

In the report, author Colin Bloom recommends that by December 2023 ‘every local council should be signed up to a Faith Partnership Charter with their places of worship’ and encourages government and local councils to force ‘productive, co-operative, and symbiotic partnerships with places of worship’. The proposal seeks to bring places of worship into initiatives like local strategic partnerships and provide a route for religious groups to partner with both local and national government.

The review discusses ways to overcome barriers to faith-based organisations partnering with public bodies, but fails to acknowledge practical concerns in relation to this. For example, faith groups already enjoy broad exemptions from equality and human rights law when contracting out public services. This allows them to discriminate in various ways such as in employment or service delivery, even when they are providing services on behalf of councils.

Elsewhere, the report praises the contribution of faith and faith groups to society in misleading ways, describing places of worship as ‘schools of virtue’. As Humanists UK has previously stated, the report overlooks the contribution of the non-religious to society, and ignores the fact that religious people are no more generous than others.

Humanists UK’s Public Affairs Manager Karen Wright commented:

‘We are deeply concerned over the proposed Faith Partnership Charter. It would unfairly elevate religious groups above other civil society groups and offer a route to partnership others couldn’t access.

‘The agenda to push for more religion in the state runs entirely counter to the situation on the ground – over half the population is non-religious and would rightly question the need for more religion in the state. We oppose these reforms and call on the UK Government to treat all groups and communities equally regardless of religion or belief’.


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Public Affairs Manager Karen Wright at or phone 020 3675 0959.

Read the Independent Faith Engagement Review.

Read our initial response to the publication of the Bloom review.

Read about our response to the call for evidence.

Read more about our work on Government and ‘faith’ communities.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.