Decision details

Draft LCC Cohesion and Integration Strategy 2024/28

Decision Maker: Community, Cultural, and Corporate Services Scrutiny Committee

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Purpose:

The Cohesion and Integration 2024/28 Strategy sets out how together we can develop stronger and more cohesive communities where communities can flourish, feel they belong and build a fairer and more inclusive County. We have aligned our key priorities to that of LCC's corporate priorities, our approach will focus on how we can build alliances to tackle inequalities and develop community cohesion and integration by working with existing partnerships, services, and various relevant communities. Please note cohesion and integration is highly complex and sensitive area, this strategy has been devised and developed over a long period via various consultative and engagement processes.

Our three-pronged approach will be to collaborate and add value to existing partnerships, our current services and build trust with communities. We aim to strategically tackle local issues collectively, and address the diverse challenges faced by the communities by collaborating with the districts, other public sector partners, voluntary community faith and social enterprise (VCFSE), businesses and any other key stakeholders. Our focus will be to ensure that we help promote cohesion with emerging as well as existing communities, deprived communities and hard to reach communities.

Decisions:

The Chair welcomed County Councillor Peter Buckley, Cabinet Member for Communities and Cultural Services, Dave Carr, Director of Policy, Commissioning and Children's Health, Saeed Sidat, Senior Policy, Information & Commissioning (Start Well) Manager and Principal County Equalities, Cohesion and Integration Manager, and Ahlam Hasan, Refugee Resettlement Data, Performance and Monitoring Lead to the meeting.

 

The report presented set out the draft Cohesion and Integration Strategy for 2024 – 2028. The Cohesion and Integration Strategy 2024/28 set out how the county council could develop stronger and more cohesive communities where communities could flourish, feel they belonged and to build a fairer and more inclusive County.

 

A presentation was also provided. Comments and queries raised from the committee were as follows:

 

·  The committee asked if the Cohesion and Integration Strategy could be referred to the Children, Families and Skills Scrutiny Committee so consideration could be given to Cohesion Education in Lancashire schools. Additionally, the committee asked to work with the Head of Corporate Strategy and Policy on Partnership Working, to identify those organisations where the county council could promote the issues of cohesion, diversity and inclusion across Lancashire.

 

·  It was noted that feedback from the meeting would be incorporated into the final strategy, and once finalised, the strategy would be presented to Cabinet for consideration.

 

·  It was asked if consideration could be given to a Benchmarking activity to consider several other authorities with a similar composite as the county council, such as Birmingham City Council, Manchester City Council, Kent County Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Worcestershire City Council, Somerset Council, Devon County Council, Surrey County Council, Newcastle Upon Tyne City Council, and North Yorkshire Council, as well as think tanks, to consider how others were delivering in this area of work.

 

·  The committee felt that using KPIs to measure success was important, and they asked that the work of Cantle, Casey, and Khan's be considered when recommending KPIs. Additionally, they asked for a follow-up report with specific KPIs to be provided to the committee in 12 months' time so that they could assess the strategy's effectiveness.

 

·  When discussing the impact of TikTok, as well as other social media platforms, on the younger generation, it was highlighted that it was important to ensure young people were involved in this piece of work, as well as ensuring that a Lancashire approach was being taken.

 

·  It was questioned why housing, which wasn't the county council's direct responsibility to provide, was included under "key priorities" in Section 6 of the strategy. It was noted that the inclusion of housing was done for research purposes and to demonstrate the various landscapes around housing in different parts of the county.

 

·  It was noted that Section 8 - Cohesion and Integration Strategic Outcomes in the strategy mentioned the following: "We are working towards the same vision of making Lancashire the best place to live, work, visit and prosper by focussing on delivering better services, caring for the vulnerable, supporting economic growth and protecting our environment." It was requested that this paragraph be amended to read, " We are working towards the Vision of making Lancashire the best place to live, work, visit and prosper…" because members felt that the word "same" was not appropriate, as the county council should be treated as a single corporate body.

 

·  Members emphasised that the strategy should be more Lancashire-specific rather than being broad and general, and asked if it would be possible to include a part in the strategy that detailed the Lancashire approach, such as the work being done in libraries and with refugee support, among other things. It was also recommended that the officers report back at a future meeting when the KPI list was produced, indicating which KPIs were most suitable for Lancashire.

 

·  If was asked if the Cohesion and Integration Strategy could be referred to the Health and Adult Services Scrutiny Committee, to allow that committee to give consideration to the health aspect of the strategy. 

 

·  It was suggested that the district council's core strategies be considered in relation to cohesion, and where relevant, what the county council could learn and incorporate into its own strategy. It was also emphasised how important it was to utilise links with the districts to ensure a more collaborative approach was taken on common interests.

 

·  The inequalities of housing in different areas of the county were discussed by members, including the need for more affordable housing, which was key when looking at cohesion and integration. It was also requested that the concept of super diversity be considered.

 

The Chair thanked the Cabinet Member and officers for their report and presentation and for answering the committees' questions.

 

Resolved: That the following recommendations be shared with the Cabinet Member for Communities and Cultural Services:

 

i.  That consideration be given to the following suggestions made by the committee, prior to the LCC Cohesion and Integration Strategy 2024 – 28 being presented to Cabinet for approval:

 

a.  Amend wording under Section 8 of the Strategy - Cohesion and Integration Strategic Outcomes to say we are working towards the Vision of making Lancashire the best place to live, work, visit and prosper.

 

b.  A benchmarking activity to take place to consider several other authorities and think tanks (as detailed in the minutes) to consider how other authorities are delivering in this area of work.

 

c.  Include a section to the strategy which describes the Lancashire approach e.g. the work done in libraries, everyone matters and support for refugees.

 

d.  Consideration be given to the district council's core strategies to consider what they say about Cohesion. 

 

e.  Consider the concept of super diversity within the strategy.

 

ii.  The Cohesion and Integration Strategy 2024 – 28 be referred to the Children, Families and Skills Scrutiny Committee so consideration is given to Cohesion Education in Lancashire schools.

 

iii.  The Cohesion and Integration Strategy 2024 – 28 be referred to the Adult and Health Scrutiny Committee so consideration is given to the health aspect of the strategy. 

 

iv.  Work with the Head of Corporate Strategy and Policy on Partnership Working to identify those organisations where we can promote the issues of cohesion, diversity and inclusion across Lancashire.

 

v.  Consideration be given to the work of Cantle, Casey and Khan whenconsidering which KPIs will be used to measure progress of the strategy. Further to this, an update report to come back to the committee in 12 months' time with information on the detailed KPIs which will be used to measure success and progress on the strategy.

Corporate Priorities : Delivering better services;

Divisions Affected: (All Divisions);

Contact: Saeed Sidat Email: saeed.sidat@lancashire.gov.uk Tel: 01772 536118.

Report author: Saeed Sidat

Date of decision: 21/05/2024

Decided at meeting: 21/05/2024 - Community, Cultural, and Corporate Services Scrutiny Committee

Accompanying Documents: