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Community Relations

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government where her Department plans to pilot specialist cohesion teams to support local authorities facing cohesion challenges; how many people the teams will comprise; what support they will provide; and if she will make a statement. (190121)

We have yet to develop detailed plans to take forward the commitment to support local authorities in promoting community cohesion by developing specialist cohesion teams to support those areas experiencing rapid change and other cohesion challenges. We will be consulting with local government on proposals over the next few months.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans her Department has to work with the Academy for Sustainable Communities to build on existing cohesion programmes; and what plans the Academy has to improve the skills of planning and housing practitioners on integration and cohesion matters. (190156)

The Academy for Sustainable Communities is potentially well-placed to improve awareness and practice among local authorities and practitioners to drive local action on community cohesion. Its existing cross-professional and cross-sector reach provides a mechanism for developing shared understanding and strategies to tackle common challenges. It has commissioned a community cohesion research project. The aim of the research is to demystify the language and key issues that surround cohesion and create a learning resource that can be used by all in the sector. The project will clarify the critical steps that proactively address cohesion as an embedded part of building sustainable communities. The project will then develop appropriate learning resources and guidance for these key professionals. Communities and Local Government is working with the Academy to ensure that the outcomes of the cohesion research project are aligned with the Department’s forthcoming Cohesion Delivery Framework so that these two resources complement each other.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when her Department plans to publish the guidance for local authorities on tension monitoring referred to in the Government’s response to the Commission on Integration and Cohesion. (190159)