Councils’ policies need to promote community cohesion, says guidance

All local authorities need to take action to
ensure their policies promote community cohesion and do not lead to
segregation, according to new draft guidance.

stresses the key role of local authorities in building on the
lessons learned from the riots in Burnley, Oldham, and Bradford
last year.

It is
being promoted as a toolkit for local authorities on how to take
the cohesion agenda forward and is published by the Local
Government Association, the Department for Transport, Local
Government and the Regions, the Home Office and the Commission for
Racial Equality.

reports that examined the causes of last year’s disturbances
pointed to a range of factors, none of which were unique to those
towns,” the guidance says.

this reason, none of us can be complacent. Community cohesion is an
issue that we believe all authorities need to address.”

guidance suggests that many local authorities’ assessments of their
existing policies will highlight a need to improve.

calls on local authorities to elect a member and appoint a senior
officer to champion community cohesion, to involve all key local
agencies from the voluntary, community, private and public sectors,
and to make community cohesion a regular item at cabinet and
partnership meetings.

guidance’s focus on segregation also brings into question the
government’s support for the development of more faith schools and
the introduction of accommodation centres for asylum

suggests using education to promote community cohesion by ensuring
that all formal education uses a curriculum that recognises the
contribution of all cultures and, where segregated schooling
exists, that inter-school activities are developed to promote
cross-cultural contact.

Finally, the guidance stresses
the importance of local authorities working closely with the police
and local people to tackle race crime and its impact on

there is potential for unrest, it is often the relationship between
the local authority and the police that can be a factor in whether
conflict boils over into disturbances,” says the report.

– The
draft guidance is out for consultation until 14 August and is
available from


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