criminal justice
housing & housing services
local government
voluntary sector

Improving Social Cohesion and Integration Across Local Communities 

criminal justice

housing & housing services

local government

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:05

Thursday 2 April 2020

Central London

This Social Cohesion Forum will provide a timely opportunity for participants to develop their understanding of the implications of the Government’s Integrated Communities Action Plan and how it can enhance social cohesion in divided local communities, and explore how local authorities can improve leadership to promote community cohesion in uncertain times. Attendees will engage with leading voices in the social integration debate and will examine effective best practice case studies across sectors that have successfully built community resilience after terrorist attacks, and that work in partnership and demonstrate strong leadership to integrate communities across different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds to increase cohesion.



This Forum is specifically designed for Local Government and Charities. Typical job titles:

  • Community Engagement Officers
  • Community Safety Managers
  • Outreach Officers
  • Area Managers
  • Heads of Community Support and Services
  • Prevent Coordinators and Officers
  • Safeguarding Leads
  • Service Managers
  • Team Managers
  • Children and Young Peoples Leads

This Forum is also open to the wider Public Sector, including Schools, Police, Central Government, Healthcare and Housing providers, as well as the Private Sector, to encourage networking and collaboration.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Cllr Farah Hussain, Member Champion for Social Cohesion on the Safer and Stronger Communities Board, Local Government Association (LGA)
  • Dr Carolyne Tah, Head of European Research and Evaluation Team, Analysis and Insight Unit, Home Office
  • Professor Ted Cantle, Chair, Cohesion and Integration Network 
  • Michelle Lawrence, Director, Link Up and The Great British Community and Trustee, The Cohesion and Integration Network 
  • Thomas ŞF Lovesey and Rehan Haidar, Senior Policy Advisors, Integration Strategy, Integration & Communities, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
  • Professor Dominic Abrams, Director of the Centre for the Study of Group Processes, University of Kent, and Chair, Cross-Academy Cohesive Societies Group, The British Academy
  • Linda Cowie, Co-Director, The Linking Network
  • Dr Panni Loh, Development Co-ordinator, Cohesion Sheffield
View the agenda and additional speakers

According to the latest government data, hate crime in the UK has risen by 10% since 2017/2018, meaning that recorded offences have doubled since 2012/2013, with spikes observed following particular events such as the 2016 EU Referendum and terrorist attacks. Indeed, since 2016, the UK has experienced growing divisions between communities, in particular between different generations and people from different ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds, with 62% of second-generation British minorities agreeing that Britain has become less tolerant, according to a 2017 report published by the Opinion Research.

To address growing divides and erosion in community cohesion, the Government released the Integrated Communities Action Plan in February 2019 to drive forward work that will create socially and economically stronger, more confident and integrated communities whilst addressing barriers that can limit opportunity and undermine integration. This also complements the Civil Society Strategy that sets out the Government’s vision to create thriving communities that can be effectively supported by enhanced public services. This is being implemented alongside the roll out of the Controlling Migration Fund and Building Connections Fund, through which £140 million, from Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Home Office combined, has been allocated to local authorities across England. It is intended to provide local government, schools and community organisations with the means to achieve broader goals of supporting new migrants and resident communities, facilitating safe spaces for social mixing and to encourage inter-generational relationships, as well as boosting English language skills and tackling residential segregation. The action plans follows the Integrated Communities Strategy green paper published in March 2018 which outlined the Government’s vision to build strong and integrated communities, addressing integration challenges throughout the country. The Integration Area Programme was set up to tackle these challenges, in which 5 local authorities were chosen to deliver integrated communities, better understand and tackle the challenges specific to their areas, building on existing best practice and local strengths.

Nevertheless, with looming uncertainty around the future of Brexit and increasing political and social polarisation between communities, it is imperative that organisations across the sector, including local authorities, charities, local community groups and schools, work together to enable communities to thrive on diversity and tolerance, and tackle divisions to ensure prosperity.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Professor Ted Cantle, Chair, Cohesion and Integration Network (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Successfully Funding and Measuring the Impact of Sustainable Integration Initiatives

  • Outlining the Home Office’s Indicators of Integration Framework 2019
  • Elaborating on how the Framework can be used by integration practitioners as a resource for planning, monitoring and measuring, and improving integration service
  • Exploring how to effectively use the Integration Interactive Toolkit and Theory of Change Guidelines, alongside the Framework, to inform the development of programmes
  • Highlighting how the Framework can complement local integration strategies
  • Sharing key evidence of what works in integrating refugees such as promoting cultural orientation, language skills and integration programmes, and encouraging high-quality social connection and community partnerships

Dr Carolyne Tah, Head of European Research and Evaluation Team, Analysis and Insight Unit, Home Office (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Exploring the Government’s Vision for Promoting Social Cohesion

  • Outlining the key priorities and the next steps of the implementation of the Integrated Communities Action Plan, building upon the 2018 green paper
  • Discussing the Integrated Area Programme and outlining how it will aim to support communities by understanding and tackling local and specific challenges
  • Exploring the Integrated Communities Innovation Fund which aims to stimulate and test innovative approaches to integration and increase understanding of what works and why when promoting effective integration

Thomas ŞF Lovesey and Rehan Haidar, Senior Policy Advisors, Integration Strategy, Integration & Communities, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Becoming an Integrated, Diverse and Inclusive City

  • Outlining ways in which the Council, as a Local Integration Area, plans to design, test and review new ways of working to promote long term positive change in an area facing challenges related to recent rapid growth in migration
  • Identifying the challenges in education such as to low diversity profiles of local schools, and enhancing their role in integration opening dialogue and developing a effective linking network
  • Discussing how the Council aims to tackle residential segregation, the third highest in England, through increased investment to create an inclusive public realm such as the award-winning City Park, thus promoting meaningful social mixing
  • Improving economic outcomes by promoting English proficiency and diversifying the labour market for BAME and migrant populations and young people not in education, employment or training
  • Developing a delivery plan with partners focussing on building support and enhance integration for women and young people, people with economic inactivity, and new communities facing language barriers

Cllr Abdul Jabar, Portfolio Holder, Neighbourhoods & Community Safety, Bradford Council (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: The Role of Community Cohesion in Overcoming Divisions after an Attack

  • Exploring how Manchester councils have encouraged the drive of community cohesion and resilience projects following the 2017 terrorist attack, especially in partnerships with residents, businesses, volunteers and faith groups
  • Outlining key objectives and findings the Commission had to consider, including identifying determinants of community cohesion, understanding how to promote them and how to take a distinct community-led approach to the Prevent Strategy
  • Elaborating on the Standing Together Plan which sets out ambitious plans for improving policing, community safety and criminal justice services through the recruitment of more police officers, improving access to police services and strengthening neighbourhood policing
  • Sharing recommendations and key lessons from the A Shared Future 2018 Report to enhance social cohesion, such as overcoming barriers for young people to access education and employment, and reforming public services to ensure every citizen is adequately supported

Senior Representative, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (invited)


Interactive Panel Discussion: Addressing the Challenges and Opportunities of Building Social Cohesion in Brexit Britain

  • Exploring what a socially cohesive society look like and how meaningful mixing and contact theory be implemented in practice
  • What are the impacts of Brexit, and recent terrorist attacks, on different populations and on community cohesion and resilience?
  • What are effective strategies to tackle social and economic polarisation in communities, as well as attitudinal divides?
  • What roles do public sector organisations play in enabling community cohesion, and how can they best create collaboration to address the issues disrupting community harmony

Professor Dominic Abrams, Director of the Centre for the Study of Group Processes, University of Kent, and Chair, Cross-Academy Cohesive Societies Group, The British Academy (CONFIRMED)

Michelle Lawrence, Director, Link Up and The Great British Community and Trustee, The Cohesion and Integration Network (CONFIRMED)

Senior Representative, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (invited)


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: The APPG Perspective - Understanding the Value of Social and Community Integration

  • Understanding the importance of promoting cohesion and harmony in order to live in a safe and fair society, and of developing an agenda that promotes social mixing for people of different backgrounds, communities and groups
  • Reviewing the Healing the General Divide 2019 Report which examines how to tackle the social gap between generations by fostering inter-generational relationships through community projects, public services, housing and technology
  • Evaluating developments and progress made following policy recommendations made in Integration not Demonisation 2017 Report on migrant integration to promote social cohesion, such as influencing the Government’s 2018 Integrated Communities Strategy green paper
  • Identifying key policy areas that still need to be addressed in light of the uncertainty Brexit brings to society, such as political tensions, ethnic and religious divides

Chuka Umunna MP, Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration (invited)


Case Study: Promoting Community Cohesion Amongst Pupils Through School Linking Programmes

  • Supporting schools and communities to develop a positive, cohesive ethos by helping children and young people to explore identity, celebrate diversity, promote community and champion equality, in particular through SMSC
  • Discussing the aims of the National Schools Linking Programme which strengthens cohesion through linking programmes, curriculum resources and teaching guidance
  • Outlining the linking process and sharing successful outcomes of the linking programme, which sees 28 local authorities, over 1,063 classes and over 30,000 children from different socio-economic backgrounds linking last year
  • Understanding the importance and value of linking schools, and sharing key guidance and resources for practitioners to successfully create and contribute towards a cohesive society

Linda Cowie, Co-Director, The Linking Network (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Special Keynote: Understanding the Role of Local Government in Building Cohesive Communities

  • Reviewing the LGA guide for building cohesive communities, and outlining best practice to improve local leadership, develop strategic approaches and support local schools and businesses to enhance integration
  • Exploring how to develop strong place leadership to deliver and shape local services through inclusive strategies and policies; develop community leadership representative of the residents; and provide political leadership to tackle difficult issues that arise in relation to cohesion and other matters
  • Effectively dealing with events that pose a threat to and disrupt community cohesion though civil resilience, civic leadership and effective communication and community tension monitoring
  • Outlining the importance of taking a multi-agency approach to social cohesion, and encouraging greater engagement between community safety teams, cultural services, education, health and housing services to create a sense of community and cohesion

Cllr Farah Hussain, Member Champion for Social Cohesion on the Safer and Stronger Communities Board, Local Government Association (LGA) (CONFIRMED)


Case study: A Local Authority Perspective - Delivering Equality and Cohesion Through Strong Leadership

  • Highlighting the Mayor’s priorities for making Hackney a fairer, safer and more sustainable borough through the Equality and Cohesion Policy which provides a framework that underpins all of the Council’s equality, diversity and community cohesion work
  • Embedding prevention into service delivery and promoting a culture of inclusive leadership to enable and attain the equality objectives set out in the Policy
  • Developing the Community Strategy 2018-2028 to invest in local strategic partnership arrangements based on the analysis of key trends affecting the borough such as migration and population growth, and increasing housing demand
  • Launching ‘A Place for Everyone’, Hackney’s grant’s programme for initiatives that promote social inclusion, encourage independence and personal resilience, and build positive relationships between communities to maintain high levels of cohesion

Philip Glanville, Mayor, London Borough of Hackney (invited)


Case Study: Working in Collaboration to Drive Successful, Communicative Social Cohesion

  • Developing the Citywide Cohesion Strategic Framework which was written as a joint strategy by Sheffield Cohesion Advisory Group (CAG) and Sheffield City Council
  • Discussing how the Strategic Framework is being embedded to help guide organisations and businesses across sectors in the development for actions plans that support communities to drive initiatives that promote cohesion
  • Examining the role of cohesion advisors and sharing practical insights into the impact they have already had such as, supporting refugees and migrants, creating working partnerships, and facilitating engagement between schools and faith communities
  • Discussing case studies that have already been implemented to promote community cohesion through funded and managed programmes that enable integration and interaction including Sheffield Futures Youth Cabinet, Syrian Gateway and RUBIC Project

Dr Panni Loh, Development Co-ordinator, Cohesion Sheffield (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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