The coming decade will see the country facing new social needs and tough new challenges. The fresh demands on public services mean that local areas will need to unlock the potential of every part of society to find solutions. Of course, that includes faith groups, which have a great deal to offer as providers of services and advocates for the communities in which they serve.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society, for which FaithAction is the secretariat, has drafted a set of principles – a ‘Covenant for Engagement’ – to support faith communities to work with local authorities constructively and effectively. The Covenant is a joint commitment between faith groups and local authorities to a set of principles that guide engagement and promote open, practical working.
These principles – summarised below – are currently in draft form, and the expectation is that local areas will adapt them to their needs.
To read the full version and find out more, see http://www.faithandsociety.org/covenant/
The principles include:
- The freedom of faith communities to practise their beliefs and to raise their voice in public debate.
- The need for respect by public services and faith-based social action for service users from all backgrounds.
- The importance of the voice, participation and solutions that faith communities bring.
- The strength brought to organisations and services by drawing on diverse sources of funding, action and participation.
Under the Covenant:
- Local authorities commit to welcome the involvement of faith groups in the delivery of services and social action on an equal basis with other groups.
- Faith-based organisations commit to work actively with local authorities in the design and delivery of services to the public.