John Griffiths, Minister for Culture and Sport
I am pleased to be launching the Community Cohesion National Delivery Plan today at a stakeholder event in Swansea Guildhall alongside the Swansea Bay Regional Equality Council’s ‘Voices Have Spoken’ project to tackle hate crime.
The National Delivery Plan will be in place 2014- 2016 and supports a key Programme for Government commitment to create more inclusive and cohesive communities. I was pleased to announce recently additional funding to extend by two years 8 Regional Community Cohesion Co-ordinator posts across Wales to implement the National Delivery Plan. These posts are based within local authorities in alignment with the regional footprint areas and will help to establish stronger arrangements for collaboration to take forward the National Delivery Plan.
The Co-ordinators have responsibility for driving forward a programme of work which, in addition to improving community cohesion, has multiple benefits for delivering on local and national priorities, including tackling poverty, improving community safety and promoting equality. There is also a strong link with the statutory responsibility of specified public authorities to have due regard to the need to ‘foster good relations’ as set out under the Equality Act 2010.
The National Delivery Plan will be delivered against the high level outcome that: ‘Communities across Wales are safer, inclusive and resilient’. There are 7 outcome areas which underpin the National Delivery Plan. These are: tackling hate crimes and incidents; tackling modern slavery; engagement across Gypsy and Traveller communities; immigration; involvement within Communities First Clusters; mainstreaming community cohesion; and tension monitoring. These outcome areas reflect high priority Welsh Government commitments.
Engaging with our communities is fundamental to driving delivery across the outcome areas. The Co-ordinator posts will play an essential role in enabling engagement and collaboration. They will also play an important role in ensuring that principles of community cohesion are mainstreamed in local authorities’ work and supporting delivery of Single Integrated Plans and Strategic Equality Plans, where Co-ordinators have an influential role. I am sure that you will agree that there are many challenges ahead for our communities in these difficult economic times and the Co-ordinators will play a valuable role in meeting these and mitigating their negative impacts.
Welsh Government will continue to support the work of the Co-ordinators across Wales to deliver the National Delivery Plan. I will be receiving a bi-annual report of progress and, furthermore, I have committed to publish an annual report on all Wales delivery. This will ensure that progress can be measured and it will drive consistency in delivery and the sharing of good practice across Wales.