Social services fail to make progress on improving cohesion, says report

Social care and health services are lagging behind other sectors in
addressing community cohesion, according to a study in the wake of
disturbances in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham in 2001.

In its final report, released last week, the Community Cohesion
Panel says the lack of progress made by health and social care in
improving their services “screamed out”.

Previous reports into the riots in the northern towns had failed to
recognise the critical impact of health and social care, which
remain “extremely understudied” in relation to community cohesion

The panel, which was set up by the Home Office and is chaired by
Ted Cantle, author of the parliamentary report into the Oldham
disturbances, highlighted several areas to be considered by service
providers, including accessibility and appropriateness of mental
health and drugs services for refugees and ethnic minority

Eurocentric models of care are also affecting the quality of
services and a more sensitive approach to care that takes account
of faith, cultural and other issues is needed, according to the

It recommends that the government’s strategy on community cohesion
and race equality should include a clear framework for achieving
better results in health and social care.

Andrew Cozens, president of the Association of Directors of Social
Services, said social services and health had difficulty with
community cohesion and the picture was “generally bleak” because
they were preoccupied with internal issues, such as meeting

He added that, by its nature, social services were dealing with a
fairly small number of people and tended not to be so involved with
issues affecting the wider community.

Generally, councils need to champion community cohesion and “look
at why they are apparently so unattractive to ethnic minority
communities”, he said.

The Community Cohesion Unit is working with the government to
ensure that cohesion is given greater emphasis within the
comprehensive performance assessment.

Other recommendations include a national campaign to build a sense
of belonging and the introduction of citizenship ceremonies for all
18 year olds. 

– Report from

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