Promoting Community Cohesion through Health and wellbeing scrutiny CFPS Healthy Accountability Forum 13 July 2009 Andrew Lawrence Summary What is community cohesion and why is it an important issue for people in the Health service? “Better Together” guide Is the NHS making an effective contribution to Community Cohesion? How can Scrutiny raise the bar? Ten challenging questions “Better Together” • A guide for people in the Health service on how they can help to build more cohesive communities. • Published report, web-based guide, journal articles, training workshops, • Defines Community Cohesion, • Explains why it’s important to people in Health service, • Identifies ten key activities and asks ten challenging questions about how NHS can influence cohesion, • Identifies key issues and recommends actions that can be taken by NHS bodies to have maximum impact. What is Community Cohesion? “Community cohesion is what must happen in all communities to enable different groups of people to get on well together. A key contributor to community cohesion is integration which is what must happen to enable new residents and existing residents to adjust to one another. • Three foundations: • People from different backgrounds having similar life opportunities • People knowing their rights and responsibilities • People trusting one another and trusting local institutions to act fairly • Three ways of living together: • A shared future vision and sense of belonging • A focus on what new and existing communities have in common, alongside a recognition of the value of diversity • Strong and positive relationships between people from different backgrounds.” • Source: The Government’s Response to the Commission on Integration and Cohesion”, DCLG, Feb 2008. Why should people working in Health be interested? • Community Cohesion affects people’s health and health affects cohesion. • It is part of our stock of social capital. In cohesive communities people look out for each other and reduce costs of dependency and institutional care. • NHS is a sleeping giant. Could do much more. • Partnerships need the benefit of Health experience, particularly in Equality and Diversity and in sharing intelligence • It helps NHS comply with several legal duties. • It helps them to achieve other NHS priorities. What barriers need to be overcome? • Terminology – It’s more than Equalities and Diversity. • It’s not just about race and faith. Need to address all aspects of perceived difference. • Need to arouse the sleeping giant. • Not enough is known about how communities are changing • Community engagement needs to include finding out how different communities feel about each other and how that impacts on health. • Challenge the practice of single group funding. • Making patient choice fairer for all communities. Ten challenging questions Developed in discussions with a group in the North West region. 1. Leadership and partnership, 2. Promoting positive relations between people from different backgrounds 3. Celebrating all aspects of equality and diversity 4. Engaging with everyone in our communities 5. Making services accessible to all 6. Involving service providers 7. Publicity and myth busting 8. Using and sharing the best information 9. Investing in workforce skills 10. Promoting NHS jobs to all What does good practice look like? 1. Programmes to challenge perceptions about difference and to bust myths (not just race and faith but also disability, age, etc.) 2. Promoting interaction between people who have differences through: volunteering, challenging single group funding, changing the format of community engagement, changing the way public spaces are managed, inter-generational projects, integrating disabled people. 3. Taking a much higher profile in Local Strategic Partnerships. 4. Working with partners on improved information strategies to understand better how communities are changing. 5. Designing the commissioning process so that it includes the needs of all communities and ensures that service providers deliver services in inclusive and integrated ways. 6. Promoting interaction within the workforce and promoting NHS jobs to under-represented communities.
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