Diversity - fairness - unity


Building bridges over divisions


Professor ted cantle political reform


Community cohesion and interculturalism


Ted has had a long and distinguished career in local and central government, and in the voluntary and private sectors. His work has covered local government, housing, health, and environmental issues, but since 2001 he became better known for his pioneering work on community cohesion. He is now focused on political reform.

Ted was appointed CBE and DL in 2004 and has been awarded honorary degrees by four universities.

He is now advisor to  Belong – The Cohesion and Integration Network, having been a founding trustee and its’ first chair. Belong is a national charity based in Manchester that brings, public, private and voluntary sectors together to develop and share good practice and to build capacity on all aspects of cohesion and integration. It is a membership organisation, but with an open bank of resources.

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Ted Cantle established the former Institute of Community Cohesion (iCoCo)  in 2005 and the iCoCo Foundation in 2012, to promote interculturalism and community cohesion. However, by 2017 the theory and practice was sufficiently developed to enable a new national charity to be formed – Belong: The Cohesion and Integration Network, based in Manchester – and this has become the resource centre for the theory and practice of this work.

In August 2001, Ted Cantle was appointed by the Home Secretary to Chair the Community Cohesion Review Team and to lead the review of the causes of the summer disturbances in a number of northern towns and cities.

The ground breaking Report – known as The ‘Cantle Report’ – was produced in December 2001 and made around 70 recommendations. It also created the concept of ‘parallel lives’ to describe communities that had little in common and had no contact with each other. In so doing, it re-established the importance of ‘contact theory’ as a means of reducing prejudice and improving tolerance and understanding of the ‘other’. This challenged the multicultural race relations orthodoxy based on essentialised identities and gave birth to the idea of ‘community cohesion’.

Community cohesion was subsequently adopted by the UK Government and many of the interventions which it spawned have been used by local communities in this country and around the world. Community cohesion programmes have succeeded in reducing tension in local communities by promoting cross cultural contact and bringing people together to, develop a better understanding of ‘others’ diversity and promoting unity. Community cohesion programmes also continue to tackle inequality and the prejudice and discrimination which underpins it, whilst interculturalism provides a wider and progressive narrative of changing and nuanced identities to replace the outmoded concept of multiculturalism.

Ted’s books Community Cohesion: a New Framework for Race and Diversity and Interculturalism: the New Era of Cohesion and Diversity  (both published by Palgrave Macmillan) provide the historical background, a review of current policy and practice and a compelling future perspective of these issues. Ted’s update report Cohesion: Coming of Age at 21 (December 2022) reflects both on progress and on the current challenges (See ‘Publications’)