Improvement in number of local integration strategies but momentum must be maintained
New research from the Immigrant Council of Ireland reveals more local authorities than ever have an in-date integration strategy, but they face challenges keeping it at the top of the agenda. Launching Keeping it Local 2 today, Wednesday 29 April, the migrant rights organisation also issued a reminder that it was more important than ever to build on this foundation, but for strategies to be successful, they needed to be adequately resourced.
Brian Killoran, CEO, Immigrant Council of Ireland, said, “Our new research report Keeping it Local 2, out today, found 26 out of 31 local authorities have a current migrant integration or are in the preparatory process. This is an improvement on two years ago and demonstrates a welcome increased commitment to and appreciation of the importance of localised integration work.
“However, with difficult times ahead the Immigrant Council is calling for ongoing commitment from local authorities to prioritise local integration efforts because as we have seen, communities which band together are stronger and more resilient in the face of adversity.
“The type of commitments we are looking for include timely renewals of local integration strategies along with dedicated resources to support the development and ensure the implementation of the programme of work. This requires adequate funding from national government.”
Kensika Monshengwo, Integration Officer and report author added, “We were inspired to hear our original Keeping it Local 2018 report was cited as a useful reference by a number of local authorities as they prepared their local integration strategies.
“However one area in need of greater attention is ongoing monitoring and evaluation of local integration strategies, which local authorities said was the biggest challenge they faced. This is concerning as while putting in place a strategy for the integration of migrants is massively important, assessing the effectiveness of the strategy to monitor progress, identify good practices and any gaps in the strategy is essential to ensure effectiveness and efficiency.”
Keeping it Local 2: Recommendations
- Local authorities need to maintain a long-standing commitment to migrant integration by reviewing and renewing their strategies on a regular basis;
- Increased ethnic and religious diversity needs to be recognised as the new social reality and migrant integration strategies should be seen as a norm not a luxury;
- The commitment to migrant integration needs to be supported by appropriate resources and investment;
- Local authorities should seek support and advice on best practice approaches to outreach and partnership formation with minority groups during all stages of inception, planning and delivery of migrant integration strategies;
- Monitoring, evaluation and reporting need to become key elements of migrant integration practices applied by any local authority.
The Immigrant Council of Ireland published Keeping it Local in 2018, which included a survey of local authorities on local integration strategies and an outline framework do what such a strategy should include.
An online research survey was issued to all 31 local authorities in January 2020. Thirty out of 31 local authorities responded to our questionnaire and the research formed the basis of this report: Keeping it Local 2.
Pippa Woolnough, Communications and Advocacy Manager
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