Successful integration helps people to realise their full potential. It makes it easier for them to access services, reduces educational and health inequalities, helps them to find jobs and, fundamentally, underpins social cohesion and community empowerment.
Although integration is difficult to define, its absence can be all too apparent.
In developing the Indicators of Integration framework, we acknowledge integration is multi-dimensional and can depend upon a broad range of factors. Integration encompasses access to resources, like education and healthcare, opportunities for work and leisure, as well as broader concepts like social mixing.
We also acknowledge true integration is multi-directional. Integrating successfully involves a wide variety of individuals, agents and stakeholders; no organisation, however capable, can integrate people single-handedly.
Integration also depends upon everyone taking responsibility for their own contribution, including newly arrived residents, receiving communities and government at all levels. Finally, integration is context specific and needs to be understood and planned in relation to a particular place, time, and person.
This framework is intended to be a resource for integration practitioners at all levels, offering a common language for understanding, planning, monitoring and measuring integration, and supporting better and more tailored integration services. It has been developed in collaboration with academics and with input from migrant organisations, the voluntary sector, local and national governments and, most importantly, migrants themselves.
By bringing together all these aspects of successful integration, we hope those who work directly to help integrate migrants will be able to consider how they can combine available resources with better, and more cost-effective, processes and outcomes. The objective of this framework is to help organisations take a structured but flexible approach to their strategies and interventions. Our aim is not to interfere – we don’t claim to know better than those at the front line of integration – but to offer guidance and tools where necessary, and to support sharing best practice.
Above all, we recognise integration is about people. Britain is a successful multicultural society. For generations, people from across the world have come here to start new lives, and their presence has made the UK an immeasurably richer and more diverse place.
Our hope is for this framework to help those who choose to make this country their home to unlock their own potential and realise every opportunity the United Kingdom has to offer them.
Rt Hon Caroline Nokes
MP Minister of State for Immigration
1. Setting the scene
The Indicators of Integration framework has been developed by the Home Office with consultation and input from other government departments, local authorities, regional Strategic Migration Partnerships, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and local service providers from across the UK’s four regions, and from refugees themselves.
This framework can be used to complement a wide variety of strategies and projects across the United Kingdom, including local and national integration strategies. Most notably the Indicators of Integration framework complements the ‘Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper’ in England (HM Government, 2018a) and, where relevant, dovetails with outcomes of other government strategies such as the Public Health Outcomes framework and the ‘UK Digital Strategy’ (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, 2017). As integration is a devolved policy issue in the UK, the framework has also been developed with input from representatives of devolved administrations and recognises their developed strategies such as the ‘New Scots: Refugee Integration Strategy 2018 to 2022’ in Scotland (Scottish Government, 2018).
The Home Office Indicators of Integration framework seeks to inform the planning, monitoring and evaluation of integration projects. This report presents a structured approach to integration in a range of local and national contexts and an evidence-based framework for developing interventions. The report helps to define how practitioners might measure what good looks like in relation to measuring progress towards integration over time. It can underpin the delivery of broader strategic goals by offering a framework that represents up-to-date evidence on best practice and what works, which can inform how integration goals will be achieved in practice. The report also provides suggested indicators that practitioners and policy officers can use where appropriate to measure the outcomes of initiatives.
2. What do we mean by integration?
The Government’s Integrated Communities Strategy set out a vision for integration and defined this as ‘communities where people, whatever their background, live, work, learn and socialise together, based on shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities’. The Indicators of Integration framework helps to identify the practical processes and changes that contribute to the integration of individuals and communities. The aim of this report is to provide guidance and tools to identify and measure the key factors that contribute to integration processes, and thereby help organisations design more effective strategies.
The term integration has multiple meanings in different contexts. This report treats integration as a multi-directional process involving multiple changes from both incoming and diverse host communities. The approach adopted is based on the following principles:
- Integration is multi-dimensional – depending on multiple factors encompassing access to resources and opportunities as well as social mixing.
- Integration is multi-directional – involving adjustments by everyone in society.
- Integration depends on everyone taking responsibility for their own contribution including newcomers, receiving communities and government at all levels.
- Integration is context specific and needs to be understood and planned in relation to its particular context and within a bespoke timeframe.