A selection of images representing communities.
|Published||6 January 2010|
To encourage a deeper and broader relationship between Government and faith communities, Communities Secretary John Denham today announced the appointment of 13 new faith advisers who will act as a 'sounding board' to advise on effective engagement with faith communities, and the impact of Communities and Local Government policy on faith communities.
Mr Denham has responsibility for the Government's public policy on faith. While recognising the significant contributions that faith communities have made to work on key issues such as homelessness and tackling poverty at home abroad, he is keen to stress the importance of respecting faith in its own right and not as a prop to Government when it has a problem to solve. The 13 advisers, all experts in their chosen field, will enhance ministerial understanding of, and engagement, with faith communities nationally.
Government already engages with faith communities through the Faith Communities Consultative Council (FCCC) and their important role will continue. However over recent months John Denham has said that he wants to see as many channels of communication open as possible and this includes hearing from a wide range of expert voices.
John Denham said:
"This new panel brings together an unprecedented wealth of knowledge and experience that will help advise on the big issues facing society such as the economy, parenting, achieving social justice and tackling climate change.
"For millions of people the values instilled by their faith are central to shaping their behaviour. We should continually seek ways of supporting and enhancing the contribution faith makes to the decision-making process on the central issues of our time.
"Each adviser is has an outstanding track record of achievement. Together they will help inform Government on the views and values of faith communities, enabling us to learn from the unique insights that faith groups bring to contemporary issues."
The 13 new advisers come from a range of backgrounds and faith perspectives and include serving Bishops, academics and local activists. They were selected for their commitment to faith and the diverse experience in their chosen careers.
The members of the panel are:
John Denham continued:
"Given that faith plays a defining role in many lives, anyone wanting to build a more progressive society should not ignore the powerful role of faith and the strong values their communities hold.
"Government needs to have an understanding of this relationship - a relationship that shapes peoples behaviour - in order to help develop public policy that is relevant to our society.
"The relationship between faith and government will however not always be easy and some faith communities will no doubt sometimes disapprove of government decisions. Likewise Government should not shy away from honest debate or criticism when warranted and that this should not exclude any faith."
1. The role of faith adviser is unpaid.
2. The Secretary of State for Communities is responsible for the Government's formal dialogue with faith communities, and also for co-coordinating that dialogue among government departments.
3. The FCCC is a non statutory body, facilitated by CLG. It aims to provide a national strategic forum, chiefly concerned with issues related to cohesion, integration, the development of sustainable communities, neighbourhood renewal, and social inclusion.
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