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Community cohesion

What we mean by community cohesion

By 'community' we mean people from different backgrounds and interests who live, work or study in Tower Hamlets.

Tower Hamlets has adopted the definition of community cohesion linked to the Cantle and Denham report. This definition is widely accepted and is embedded in both national and regional approaches to social integration.

It states that a cohesive society is one in which:

  • there is a common vision and sense of belonging by all communities;
  • the diversity of people’s backgrounds and circumstances is appreciated and valued;
  • similar life opportunities are available to all; and
  • strong and positive relationships exist and continue to be developed in the workplace, in schools and in the wider community.

Public Sector Equality Duty

Community cohesion is supported by the Equality Act 2010, which states that public authorities must have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act.
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The council is required to set and publish one or more equality objectives that are specific and measurable which we should achieve to meet all or part of our duty.

We do this by including equality objectives within our Strategic Plan, ensuring that community cohesion, as a vital component of the Act, is featured.

Local context

The Tower Hamlets Plan 2018-23 sets out the Tower Hamlets Partnership’s five-year vision of tackling inequality by building a strong, inclusive and fair borough.

The Cohesion Plan sits underneath the Tower Hamlets Plan and through it we aim to address cohesion more broadly.

The partnership recognises that strong and resilient communities are happier and healthier communities. People also benefit in terms of their health and wellbeing, from their connections with people around them and when people look out for each other.

The plan sees cohesion as acting like glue, that bonds society together and helps create strong and resilient communities.

The Tower Hamlets Plan has committed to creating stronger, more resilient and safer communities by ensuring people:

  • feel safe and live in a cohesive community
  • are proud of and want to live, work, study and stay in the borough
  • live in a friendly and welcoming borough with strong community spirits.

The council contributes towards realising these commitments through its focus on two outcomes within its Strategic Plan:

  • Inequality is reduced and people feel that they fairly share the benefits from growth (Outcome 4)
  • People feel they are part of a cohesive and vibrant community (Outcome 8)

Key facts: Tower Hamlets (accurate as of Sept 2019)

  • Population predicted to reach 400,000 by 2041
  • 2nd most densely populated Borough in the country
  • 16th most diverse borough in the country
  • Largest Bangladeshi population in the country making up 32 per cent of the population
  • 11th  highest population churn in the country
  • 44 per cent of residents were born outside of the United Kingdom
  • 54 per cent of residents who have lived in the borough for less than five years are from White ethnic groups
  • 4 in 10 households live below the poverty line.