Public Health England (PHE) and the University College (UCL) London Institute of Health Equity have produced guidance on reducing social isolation across the life course, as summarised in Figure 12.

Figure 12: Reducing social isolation over the life course 6

Covers pregnancy and early years, children and young people, working age adults and older adults
Figure 12: Reducing social isolation over the life course [18]
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has also produced guidance on preventing social isolation in older people specifically, the main recommendations of which are summarised in Box 2.

Box 2: NICE guidance on preventing social isolation in older people: summary recommendations 7

  • Voluntary and community sector providers should consider collaborating with local authorities to develop new ways to help people to remain active and engaged in their communities, including when people are in care homes.
  • Commissioners should consider contracting with voluntary and community sector enterprises and services to help older people with social care needs and multiple long‑term conditions to remain active in their home and engaged in their community, including when people are in care homes.
  • Health and social care practitioners should give people advice and information about social activities and opportunities that can help them maintain their social contacts, and build new contacts if they wish to.
  • Health and social care practitioners should support older people with social care needs and multiple long‑term conditions to maintain links with their friends, family and community, and identify if people are lonely or isolated.

The Local Government Association (LGA) produced guidance in 2002 and 2004 for local authorities to assess how they are performing against various themes of community cohesion, and to take action to promote a cohesive local area. 8 9 The guidance suggested carrying out a baseline assessment of how well local policies and programmes promote community cohesion (see Box 3 for assessment checklist) and recommends strategies for neighbourhood renewal to cover the following areas: regeneration, sports and cultural services, education, housing and planning, employment and economy, and community safety and policing. In developing these strategies, it is important to engage effectively with local councillors, residents and the voluntary and community sector – including faith communities, children and young people, asylum seekers and refugees or Traveller communities.

More recently the LGA has provided a number of documents to support councils to combat extremism and encourage victims of crime to come forward and report matters to the police in building community cohesion.B Councils play a pivotal role in such challenges.

Box 3: Checklist for local authorities to assess community cohesion 10

  • Are we clear about the regeneration needs and aspirations of all sections of our community?
  • Do we really listen to people who truly represent all sections of our community?
  • Do youth activities help to build understanding and tolerance between different groups?
  • Do we have effective mechanisms to listen to young people? Do we respond to those views?
  • Do school pupils develop a tolerance and respect for the different cultures that make up the UK?
  • Do some groups achieve much lower levels of educational attainment than others?
  • What impact does the housing situation have on community cohesion? Do people get real choices about where they live?
  • Are particular sections of the community disadvantaged in the labour market? What can be done to address these differences?
  • Is racist crime or other hate crime a feature of the local area? What is being done to address it?
  • Is there evidence of religious discrimination?
  • Are local authorities, the police and other partners sensitive to the needs of different community groups?

Notes

  1. http://www.local.gov.uk/community-safety/-/journal_content/56/10180/7878729 
  2. http://www.local.gov.uk/community-safety/-/journal_content/56/10180/7878729 

References

  1. Public Health England and UCL Institute of Health Equity, “Reducing social isolation across the lifecourse,” 2015. [Online]. Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/461120/3a_Social_isolation-Full-revised.pdf (PDF document). [Accessed October 2016].
  2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), NG22, “Older people with social care needs and multiple long term conditions,” 2015.
  3. Local Government Association, “Community Cohesion – an action guide. Guidance for local authorities.,” 2004.
  4. Local Government Association, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Commission for Racial Equality, The Inter-Faith Network, “Guidance on Community Cohesion,” 2002. [Online]. Available: http://www.tedcantle.co.uk/publications/006%20Guidance%20on%20Community%20Cohesion%20LGA%202002.pdf (PDF document). [Accessed October 2016].
  5. Local Government Association, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Commission for Racial Equality, The Inter-Faith Network, “Guidance on Community Cohesion,” 2002. [Online]. Available: http://www.tedcantle.co.uk/publications/006%20Guidance%20on%20Community%20Cohesion%20LGA%202002.pdf (PDF document). [Accessed October 2016].
  6. Public Health England and UCL Institute of Health Equity, “Reducing social isolation across the lifecourse,” 2015. [Online]. Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/461120/3a_Social_isolation-Full-revised.pdf (PDF document). [Accessed October 2016].
  7. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), NG22, “Older people with social care needs and multiple long term conditions,” 2015.
  8. Local Government Association, “Community Cohesion – an action guide. Guidance for local authorities.,” 2004.
  9. Local Government Association, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Commission for Racial Equality, The Inter-Faith Network, “Guidance on Community Cohesion,” 2002. [Online]. Available: http://www.tedcantle.co.uk/publications/006%20Guidance%20on%20Community%20Cohesion%20LGA%202002.pdf (PDF document). [Accessed October 2016].
  10. Local Government Association, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Commission for Racial Equality, The Inter-Faith Network, “Guidance on Community Cohesion,” 2002. [Online]. Available: http://www.tedcantle.co.uk/publications/006%20Guidance%20on%20Community%20Cohesion%20LGA%202002.pdf (PDF document). [Accessed October 2016].