Community Cohesion Practitioner Groups
1. The practitioner groups are supported
by the Home Office Community Cohesion Unit and Race Equality Unit.
There are groups on the following subjects:
Political and Community Leadership.
Police and Community Safety.
Health and Social Care.
Culture, Leisure Art and Sport.
Press and Media.
2. The Regeneration practitioner group has
been addressing those aspects of developing area based initiatives
which are most likely to promote cohesion, recognising in particular
the way in which area based initiative funding has been perceived
by communities as divisive.
3. The Community Cohesion Unit is producing
a Guide to Community Cohesion for Area Based Initiatives which,
subject to inter-Departmental agreement, will be issued alongside
existing advice from the Regional Co-ordination Unit. The recent
report of the Select Committee on Regeneration Initiatives also
asks that the Unit report publicly on the community cohesion implications
of any new regeneration initiatives, including the recently announced
4. Paragraph 27 of the Select Committee
report notes "the opportunity to adopt a more flexible approach
to drawing the boundaries of areas subject to regeneration, allowing
for funding to be used outside wherever boundaries are established".
The Community Cohesion Unit plans to address this issue in its
guidance for area-based initiatives alongside recommendations
on funding flexibility.
5. The housing practitioner group is addressing
barriers to community cohesion within the housing sector, including
both social housing and the private rented sector.
6. There is the need to ensure that ensure
individuals have real housing choices and minority ethnic groups
are not concentrated in the worst housing stock through for example,
fear or discrimination.
7. The group are with ODPM producing an
action plan in relation to social housing lettings which was announced
on 17 June 2003. The plan will be published in September.
8. The practitioner group plans to undertake
research into the potential for the private sector to contribute
to cohesion as landlords, funders and investors.
9. Recommendations have been made for action
to encourage positive and effective leadership, build the capacity
of local authority members, engage under represented and disaffected
groups in the mainstream political and democratic process. The
next step will be to develop an action plan to take forward the
10. The Practitioner Group for Policing
is contributing to a range of work to ensure community cohesion
is mainstreamed into the Police Reform Agenda, helping ensure
that it is articulated in concrete, pragmatic ways which help
police promote community cohesion operationally. As part of the
Pathfinders Programme, a budget of £100,000 has been set
aside to provide training support to the police forces in the
pathfinder and shadow areas. The funding will be available to
spend in the period of April 2003 to the end of March 2004. This
will provide a further mechanism to disseminate policing excellence
across the country.
11. The group has examined issues around
use of English for those entering schools, the impact of mono-cultural
schools on community cohesion and poor attainment levels amongst
white working class boys and black African-Caribbean boys. The
DfES, working with the group and officials in the Community Cohesion
Unit, has drawn up an action plan for taking forward recommendations
from the group.
12. Poor health can limit children's attainment
at school and consequently, employment opportunities. Effective
delivery to minority ethnic communities of preventative public
health initiatives and access to health care are both important.
The group has been working to identify targets to help reduce
the equality gap. Issues include reducing the high infant mortality
rate for some minority ethnic groups, improving access to health
bodies for minority ethnic groups, raising the quality of ethnic
minority data of service users across all areas and ensuring that
black and minority ethnic service users are actively involved
in the planning of their care.
13. Labour Force Survey statistics show
a persistent gap in the employment rates of many minority ethnic
groups and the population overall. The Employment practitioner
group is examining how improvements can be made and how national
strategies impact on deprived communities. The group has so far
focussed on research, collecting examples of best practice, focus
Groups, and employers.
14. The Practitioner Group for Voluntary
Organisations has been following up issues in relation to separate
funding of distinct communities, with a view to ensuring that
single group funding does not reinforce barriers to cohesion.
As part of its work, CCU held a series of three workshops in co-operation
with the Association of Charitable Funders, aimed at:
informing funders about the reasons
behind the Community Cohesion agenda;
encouraging them to think about the
principles of cohesion and how it might be worked into funding
enabling them to share best practice.
15. The Practitioner Group for Youth has
contributed to the Government's programme to embed community cohesion
principles in mainstream policies relating to the youth sector,
and is carrying forward work to draw up community cohesion criteria
for youth work.
16. A criticism of the reports on the 2001
disturbances was the lack of any substantial consideration given
to the role of faith communities. The faith issues practitioner
group has been working towards identifying the role which faith
communities can have in helping to promote community cohesion
and is developing proposals which will build on this, and allow
policy making to take proper account of faith.
17. The Practitioner Group for Culture has
assisted the formulation of the Government's programme to incorporate
community cohesion principles into the range of mainstream policies
relating to sport, leisure, art and culture, and is involved in
work to draw up an appropriate community cohesion skills framework
for sports workers.
18. The group held its first meeting in
May 2003 and includes representatives of national, regional and
local press. The Review Team commented on the possible effect
of media reporting. The practitioner group is considering mechanisms
which may help to promote community cohesion.