7. Community cohesion may be considered a somewhat
nebulous concept; certainly it is a phrase not commonly used at
the grassroots. The
expression was adopted by the Government following Professor Ted
Cantle's report on the disturbances in a number of northern towns
in the summer of 2001, and since has often been associated with
race. The CIC called
for a new definition of community cohesion to recognise the importance
of integration to cohesion, and to go beyond race relations. The
Government has accepted a new definition:
Community Cohesion is what must happen in all communities
to enable different groups of people to get on well together.
A key contributor to community cohesion is integration which is
what must happen to enable new residents and existing residents
to adjust to one another.
A shared understanding of the term is vital as a
starting point for discussion on this topic. We welcome the Government's
new definition: it recognises that cohesion is not simply about
race or faith, nor only the responsibility of new residents, but
how we all get on with other people within local communities.
8. The Government has developed a new standard
form of measurement of community cohesion. The new Public Service
Agreement (PSA) 21 covers community cohesion and includes three
particular indicators. The main indicator on cohesion, which has
been used for a number of years, and was the sole cohesion indicator
included in the previous PSA 10 on reducing race inequalities
and building community cohesion (CSR04), is "the percentage
of people who believe people from different backgrounds get on
well together in their local area".
This indicator is measured through the national Citizenship Survey
and included as a Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI).
9. Equally important is the need for a shared
understanding of the term migration. Migrationthe movement
of peopleis not synonymous with immigration. We have deliberately
used the broader term migration throughout our inquiry, as we
recognise that internal movement of people within the UK affects
local communities as well as international inward migration. We
are an increasingly physically mobile society, moving within the
UK and internationally. One in nine people moved within the UK
in the year before the last census was taken.
We recognise that there has also been a recent increase in the
number of migrants going back to their countries of origin, given
the current economic situation in the UK.
And there is significant emigration from the UK, with an estimated
400,000 leaving in 2006.