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Government launch Community Cohesion contingency “Tool Kit”

The Department of communities and local government (DCLG) have published a best practise guide on how to prevent tension between local communities. Communities Secretary Hazel Blears announced the “Guidance for local authorities on community cohesion contingency planning and tension monitoring” in a government press statement released today.

The document is expected to assist and standardise approaches to different cohesion challenges for local government. Clearly anxious on how the national press would view the release, the DCLG where quick to emphasise that this was not a response to any envisaged larger scale problem. To support this theypointed to a recent citizenship survey as evidence that community relations were currently not of critical concern.

The guidance stresses the importance of early intervention in any potential community conflicts and better planning including:-

* Better use of local data - including better sharing of info and feedback from police, neighbourhood wardens and community workers. Figures on employment, investment in the area and levels of political extremism can all point to changing attitudes.

* Community responses - councils should look to bring together all key players the community - from local government agencies, the police, community and faith groups - who can come together to address issues should they arise and who will then keep a watchful eye on tension levels across the community on an ongoing basis.

It also  authorities to think about possible 'triggers' and take action by:

* monitoring racist, religious and other criminal incidents closely, looking at where and when they occur and then taking action to resolve tensions that may follow.
* countering rumours and scaremongering with myth busting info setting out the facts.
* working with local media to ensure that reporting of local issues is balanced and does not exacerbate tensions.
* working closely with young people in the community from all different faith and cultural groups
* developing greater awareness that increased globalisation means international issues can play out at local level with the potential to threaten cohesion.

Hazel Blears said:

"The overwhelming majority of people in this country live successfully side by side but we cannot take this for granted. Challenges to cohesion do exist - this might be between different ethnic or faith groups or new migrants and longer term residents - but things can be done to address problems at the earliest opportunity and stop things escalating"

The document is sure to be warmly received by local government employees in the sharp end of community cohesion initiatives.

Diversity Link wonders if the United Kingdom is the only EU member state that have published such a guide? Answers on a post card!

Ends

Please follow the link below to view the guide

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/communities/cohesionplanning

Posted by, Asif Yusuf

 

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