The pandemic has presented a number of cohesion and extremism issues for local areas. As we look ahead to the post-COVID landscape, with fears about economic decline and rising unemployment – traditional fertile ground for extremist narratives, the need for local authorities to work together to and support one another in response is paramount. Since 2017 The Special Interest Group for Countering Extremism (SIGCE) has provided invaluable support to councils across England and Wales to tackle extremism and promote cohesion. Funded by the LGA and Chaired by Luton and Leeds councils, it continues to bring councils and partners together to develop and share practice around disrupting activity, engaging communities and fostering resilience.
The SIGCE recognises that LA’s are best equipped to define the best approaches to building stronger communities and tackling extremism at a local level and that effective community leadership on this challenging agenda needs to be coordinated with both cohesion and integration as well as counter-terrorism and prevent policy agendas. This would provide an opportunity for those elected members responsible for the development and delivery of these programmes, to come together at least once a year to share good practice and provide practical support.
The SIGCE is particularly keen to engage with a wider group of local authorities, especially those who currently do not benefit from Home Office funded Counter Extremism Community Coordinator or Prevent Officers, as we recognise that the threat of extremism is increasing in many areas. We want to try and ensure that the network supports all LA’s to meet the challenges of extremism and intolerance in their localities.
- The key outcome for the SIGCE is to increase confidence and leadership, develop resources, share learning and good practice, and increase our capacity and understanding on the issue of extremism and radicalisation.
- There is a clear interest in developing support for elected leaders and senior officers to feel better equipped to deal with the challenges that those who wish to divide our communities can bring.
- Define the issues and challenges faced in the region and how to address them
Audience: Members and Senior Officers from our member authorities across the East of England region.
If you have any queries please contact Annie Richardson, Policy Officer, East of England LGA, email: firstname.lastname@example.org