A new framework to support UK local authorities to build more Inclusive Cities

Author: Belong Manager
Published: October 31, 2019

A new framework to support UK local authorities to build more Inclusive Cities

Inclusive Cities aims to create a step change in the inclusion of newcomers at the local level. It is led by the Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity at the University of Oxford which facilitates knowledge exchange between cities, with international best practice and between academic research, policy and practice.

Six founder cities – Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, London, Liverpool and Peterborough have worked closely with COMPAS researchers over two years to develop action plans for the inclusion of newcomers at the local level. They have worked with a taskforce of stakeholders in their city who play a dual role – advising the local authority on their plan, but also taking ownership in taking the plan forward.

The new framework is drawn from this process and aims to set out a roadmap for local authorities looking to create change in this area:

5 Core Principles in working to build inclusion at the local level

  1. Provide local leadership to create change
  2. Inclusion is a shared responsibility, delivered in partnership
  3. Work with newcomers and longer standing residents
  4. Use available data and evidence to set goals, monitor impact and update strategies
  5. Take action at the local level, provide advocacy at the national level, learn from best practice internationally.

5 thematic areas

  1. Leading in the development of a shared local story of inclusion
  2. Supporting and driving inclusive economic growth
  3. Connecting communities
  4. Mainstreaming and building inclusive public services
  5. Encouraging civic participation and representation

This Framework was launched at a roundtable of political leaders from the Inclusive Cities and other UK cities hosted by Cardiff City Council and sets the way for the next phase of the programme which will work with the founder cities, alongside six new cities including Brighton, Birmingham and Newport.

The aim is to create a step change in the approach to the inclusion of newcomers at the local level – allowing local authorities to take a leadership role and bring together partners to create change. The framework does not intend to be prescriptive but instead to support local authorities to develop their role and approach.

Lessons, opportunities and next steps

Feedback from the participating cities from the first phase of the programme suggest that Inclusive Cities has acted as a catalyst for change – speeding up and reinforcing existing processes and providing practical and tangible ideas as well as new impetus to act. The programme increases political leadership to raise the profile of integration and welcoming across the city council and elsewhere, and supports cities to engage with a wider and more diverse group of stakeholders. The support of an academic partner was also seen as valuable in providing an evidence base and providing accountability and structure.

However, work on inclusion still feels sidelined and there is more to do to mainstream the inclusion of newcomers into day to day work. Whilst partnership working has been positive, it has sometimes proved hard to move beyond the council to a truly shared model, and some groups, in particular employers, remain under engaged.

Finally, the city voice on inclusion at the national level remains relatively weak – with cities underrepresented in conversations about migration and integration practice. The Inclusive Cities programme and framework aims to be the first step in supporting local leaders and their partners in developing their approach locally and advocating for the change necessary to deliver on their ambitious plans.

The Inclusive Cities Framework and resources can be found here.