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JOINT GUIDANCE ON COMMUNITY COHESION LAUNCHED

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Joint guidance on community cohesion was today launched at a joint LGA and...
Joint guidance on community cohesion was today launched at a joint LGA and

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

by the LGA, the Home Office, the ODPM, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Interfaith Network, provides advice on ways local authorities and other local agencies can review their existing policies and practices to contribute to more cohesive communities.

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 country.'

Notes

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.

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