Community cohesion committee could be set up by Adur and Worthing Councils

A committee with the aim of ‘tackling harmful ideologies and radicalisation’ could be set up from April next year if it is approved by Adur and Worthing Councils.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 5:04 pm
Adur and Worthing Councils

Worthing Borough Council members agreed to establish the cross party committee at its full meeting last month.

It is hoped it will help to achieve long term goals such as: partnerships with minority ethnic groups and organisations; delivering more equitable services; and greater participation of minority ethnic communities in local decision-making.

This follows the resignation of former Marine ward councillor Tim Wills, after anti-racist campaign group HOPE not Hate said he allegedly sent messages to a Telegram chat associated with Patriotic Alternative.

During last month’s council meeting, members of the public expressed concern that sitting councillors could potentially hold ‘racist views’ and asked for action to be taken.

Their request has been heard and will be discussed by the councils’ joint governance committee tonight (Tuesday November 23).

The meeting will decide whether a joint community cohesion committee should go forward and set up a working group in the meantime.

The working group would report back to the joint governance committee in March next year.

But proposals would need to be passed by both Adur District and Worthing Borough councils which are due to meet in April.

Newly selected Worthing council leader Kevin Jenkins (Con, Gaisford) said that one of his first actions would be to ‘accelerate’ the establishment of the community cohesion committee.

‘Bridging the gap’

The council has commissioned Brighton and Hove based organisation Bridging Change to ‘develop greater participation’ and ‘bridge the gap between’ the councils and minority ethnic communities.

This work will be carried out until March and Bridging Change will also help to inform the establishment of the cohesion committee.

It is hoped that this will involve minority ethnic communities in the process.

Timeline and costs set out

It is thought the committee could cost at least £3,800 to set up, which takes into account the allowance paid to committee chairs and vice chairs.

Additional costs could be incurred through committee support, member expenses and other remuneration.

Council officers have now set out a timeline for establishing the committee as follows:

November/December:

● Officers work with Group Leaders to nominate working group members

● Officers establish the working group for community cohesion

● Bridging Change to facilitate conversations with working group on terms of reference

● Bridging Change identify and hold initial conversations with key

groups and individuals

● Bridging Change develop the participation work and approach for January

to March with minoritised ethnic communities;

January/March

● Officers and members prepare report for joint governance committee

● Bridging Change undertake engagement work with minoritised ethnic

individuals and communities about community cohesion and gather data

● Bridging Change engages lay members from minoritised ethnic groups to be involved in the committee

● Bridging Change to work with community cohesion committee to ensure

it is well informed, involved and engaged