Dear Inter Faith Network contact,
Earlier today, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid announced the publication of a Green Paper consulting on the proposed Integrated Communities Strategy.
The Green Paper invites views on the Government’s vision for building strong integrated communities “where people – whatever their background – live, work, learn and socialise together, based on shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities”. It sets out a programme of actions it proposes to take across Government to deliver this vision at the local and national level.
Key proposals in the Green Paper include:
- identifying priority policies and services to review across government to determine how they can drive integration;
- testing a package of information for recent migrants to support them to integrate into their communities and to build understanding of life in Britain;
- addressing the segregation of schools along ethnic or faith lines that exists in some places, even where the local population is very diverse, for example by promoting mixing and twinning arrangements between schools in areas of high segregation;
- developing a new strategy for English Language in England, to improve the coordination of provision to learners and help improve their outcomes;
- trialling new approaches through Jobcentre Plus to break down the barriers to employment and support people from isolated communities into work; and
- empowering marginalised women, including exploring the legal and practical challenges of limited reform of the law on marriage so that civil marriages are conducted before or at the same time as religious ceremonies.
The Green Paper also sets out “a new localised approach to delivering these policy priorities”. It says that this approach recognises that integration challenges are not uniform throughout the country so tailored local plans and interventions are needed to address the issues that are specific to a particular place. This local approach will be trialled initially in five Integration Areas – Blackburn with Darwen, Bradford, Peterborough, Walsall and Waltham Forest.
Faith communities, religious organisations and inter faith engagement are mentioned at a number of points in the document.
The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government indicates that it wishes to engage widely as it consults on the Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper, “to start a debate with individuals, communities and organisations about the most effective ways to address integration challenges”.
The Green Paper can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/integrated-communities-strategy-green-paper and a copy is also attached. The consultation period will end on Tuesday 5 June.
Best wishes, Harriet Crabtree