This publication brings together the breadth of work going on across London local government to promote social integration.
The terminology used in discussing this work includes cohesion, equalities, resilience, safeguarding and isolation. These all contribute in some way towards the creation of socially integrated communities. Integration is not just about new communities, but about how people of different social backgrounds, generations, faiths, and ethnicities interact and build meaningful relationships.
In December 2016 the government published a report that considered immigration and patterns of resettlement; the extent to which people from different backgrounds mix and get on together; how different communities, ethnic and faith groups in particular, have fared economically and socially; and some of the issues driving inequality and division in society.
The review recommended a new programme to help improve community cohesion and demonstrated the important role of local leaders in enabling social integration to happen. Local areas will want assurances that any such programme is adequately funded. The government needs to find the resources that will enable London to commission and deliver projects that improve opportunity or drive aspiration across all parts of their communities. It will be critical that this funding doesn’t come with burdensome restrictions. Boroughs need to be able to work with their partners to deliver projects that are flexible and designed around local needs. London also needs multi-year settlements to give projects enough time to invest long-term in their locality and be given the means to become self-sustaining and effectively address complex social problems.
It is also important that we see a cohesive approach across central government for such a programme, with clear, strategic direction and shared priorities across all central departments, in order to support and enable local government and communities to respond fully to the challenges set out in the review. The review draws attention to a number of significant policy areas, which need to be considered as part of a holistic approach to meeting the government’s aspiration around cohesion and integration.
Councillor Sarah Hayward, London Councils' Lead Member for Equalities said:
Councils across London have been leading commissions into fairness, cohesion, equality and integration that will shape local plans and priorities for years to come.
This publication brings just some of that exciting work together and frames it with think pieces from experts in integration, so that London’s councils can continue to lead this agenda locally.
Westminster City Council has established a cross-party Community Cohesion Commission to undertake a review of the social integration of its communities and strengthen its work on cohesion.