Walsall Council has today (March 14) announced that it is one of five local authorities in England working closely with Whitehall to help launch its national Integration Strategy.
Walsall Council was identified by central government as already having a progressive approach to integration and cohesion in the borough. Walsall was invited to take part with four other local authorities with Sajid Javed, Secretary of State commenting that all had ‘already demonstrated a keen grasp of the challenges they face, and shown a desire to try new things and learn from what works’.
The government’s pledge of funding support for the integration work comes on the back of the Council’s recent 2017 Cohesion and Integration Strategy. It identified key areas of work which would lead to greater integration in the borough.
- Understanding and increasing personal aspiration
- Raising literacy and educational achievements of children, young people and the mature population
- Improving education and training and employment in communities which have multiple deprivation indicators
Leader of Walsall Council Sean Coughlan said “We’re pleased take part in this national plan, it was not something we’ve been ‘told to do’, but something we have chosen. Current perceptions are that the work is purely about learning English, we recognise that English language is part of the picture, but we are keen to raise literacy and educational achievements of everyone in the borough.”
Although integration issues can vary in communities and towns, the Government programme is expected to be rolled out further. Walsall Council’s approach to greater integration will then be shared with other local authorities as a means of communicating good practice.
Councillor Ian Shires Portfolio Holder for Community, Leisure and Culture said: “This is work that we’ve already been doing for some time and it’s all about education. If aspirations are raised, people will then have the belief and opportunities to develop to their full potential”