Home Office conference. The guidance has been published after a year of
extensive consultation with local authorities and other organisations during
the course of the past year. The guidance, which has been jointly published
Community cohesion minister Beverley Hughes welcomed the opportunity to
launch the final community cohesion guidance for local authorities and said:
'The government shares the vision of a safe, tolerant and cohesive society.
To achieve this we need to start at local level. We all need to play our
part to get it right. This guidance gives councils the advice they need to
eliminate division and promote unity in their policies and in the services
they provide. The guidance will also help those councils interested in
bidding for funds from the£6m Community Cohesion Pathfinder
programme, to be launched in February 2003. I urge everyone in local
government - leaders, ward councillors, workers - along with community
groups and local businesses, to use this guidance and continue the drive
towards strong and united communities in which people from different
backgrounds can live and work together with mutual trust and respect.'
Chair of the LGA equalities executive Laura Willoughby, speaking at the
launch of the guidance, said:
'This guidance represents a significant step in local government 's drive to
promote and facilitate harmonious communities. In developing this guidance
we have consulted a wide variety of local communities as each are faced
with differing circumstances and problems. The guidance has sought to offer
practical and long lasting solutions for all local authorities to build on
the work they are already doing to counter fractured communities up and down
The guidance sets out a definition of community cohesion, presents a
joint central/local government policy position and offers a practical
toolkit for building cohesive communities. It is designed as a web-based
document, with links to other helpful tools, and is available on
the LGA website.
All local authorities are encouraged to consider the guidance and
implement aspects that seem appropriate for local circumstances. The main
vehicle proposed for developing and delivering a shared vision that can bind
a community under a set of common values, is the local strategic partnership
and local community strategies.
There are to be further revisions of the document as more is learned
about what is most effective in building community cohesion and what can
result in fractures and divisions. These lessons are expected to be learnt
from the experiences of the community cohesion pathfinder authorities, to be
announced in the new year, the beacon councils and the twelve practitioner
groups, set up by the community cohesion panel to look at the specific areas
of the guidance in more detail.