*81% said and that their roles would be easier if they could communicate with others holding a similar position.
*At present insufficient dialogue takes place across different faith communities and also with BME Groups.
*44% of those surveyed said that LPPs are not open to discussing faith issues.
*There is a great need for faith literacy training within the local government sector.
The report constitutes the first piece of research done to explore the experiences of representatives of faith communities on local public partnerships, such as Local Strategic Partnerships.
Produced by the Church Urban Fund, in conjunction with the Faith Based Regeneration Network UK (FbRN) and Coventry University, the research highlights a number of areas where work is needed if greater participation is to take place, including:
*Increased education and understanding of faith, race and cultural issues at the local public partnership level.
*Greater considerations of the time and expenses that are incurred for representation to take place.
*Recognition of how the formal public sector style of meetings can impede proper representation by the faith sector.
Government performance targets aim to increase their effectiveness in delivering services to all communities, reduce race inequalities and build community cohesion. As such the need to effectively engage with groups that will help facilitate and deliver on these targets is imperative. The faith sector is one such important group and that is why these findings are particularly pertinent.
Church Urban Fund national programmes manager Billy Dann said:
'This report provides a platform for further work with the faith sector and we would encourage the DCLG and other key stakeholders to implement the recommendations so more effective grass roots engagement can take place.'
1.A summary of the report and recommendations is available here.
2.The report was funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government.
3.Church Urban Fund
Church Urban Fund works with the poorest communities in England, by providing funds and other support to aid sustainability. Over the last 20 years it has supported thousands of faith based projects working at grassroots level.
4.The Faith Based Regeneration Network UK (FbRN)
FbRN is drawn from nine faith traditions: Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian. It was established in 2001 by and for regeneration practitioners who identify with faith traditions, or who work with or for faith community organisations. It is the first time that practitioners have come together from a range of faith traditions in this way, and is the only organisation of its kind in Britain.
5.Definition of local public partnerships (LPP)
LPPs are partnerships that bring together sector representatives, ie public, voluntary/community and business, to deal with issues faced in the local area. Examples include Local Strategic Partnerships, Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships and other community safety partnerships, as well as Primary Care Trust boards.
A fuller definition is included in the research summary, available at www.cuf.org.uk/resources.