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At Ease With Each Other - Objectives & Outcomes

April 25th, 2012

The Government’s first statement on integration, launched in February 2012, marks a significant departure from recent policy and provides a fresh context for communities learning to live together in an increasingly complex society. The Government’s approach challenges no less than six government departments to put integration at the heart of their mainstream programmes. It suggests that integration happens locally and only ‘exceptionally by national government’.

This places fresh emphasis on the importance of shared aspirations, a sense of responsibility, social mobility and active participation whilst at the same time encouraging robust responses to extremism and exclusion. Centrally funded programmes based on principles of multiculturalism have recorded significant successes over the last decade. With more emphasis on local communities and agencies delivering the new agenda, what will happen to that success? Also, little mention is made of the austere times that we are in when local funding, especially for voluntary organisations, is under pressure. Local grassroots activity is already being curtailed amid concerns about how those at very local levels, where impact can be biggest, will continue to achieve in this financial climate.

At the At Ease With Each Other conference, speakers & delegates explored the Government’s new approach, considered alternatives and focused on practical concerns and issues for policy makers and those responsible for delivery. The conference provided an opportunity to discuss pertinent issues for the UK’s social agenda and the wider context of integration and increasing diversity in an age of austerity.

In this podcast Ted Cantle who founded ICoCo tells us why the Conference was important to convene at this time and Mike Hardy the Chief Executive gives us his impressions of the Conference and what further action is needed.