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Shaping society’s commitment to immigrant integration

Keynote address in ten points + Explanatory note Jan Niessen with Alexandre Kirchberger

Vienna, 3-4 February 2011


1. Societies are made up of individuals with multiple identities, interacting with each other in a variety of societal entities. There are many and different types of societal entities. Consequently, society’s commitment to integration takes many forms. 2. Commitment to integration can be described and measured in terms of openness and inclusion: the degree to which opportunities are offered and seized to take part in and become part of societal entities. 3. Whereas it is a democratic duty for the public sector to act upon and reflect the diversity of the population, for civil society and the private sector this is more a matter of good citizenship. 4. The commitment to integration finds an expression in the promise of and dedication to equal treatment, anti-discrimination and the sharing of opportunities:   

Adoption and implementation of and compliance with anti-discrimination law Equality impact assessments of current and future policies and practices Mapping the population’s diversity and identifying potentialities and needs.

5. Whether or not their purpose is (directly or indirectly) related to integration, public and private organisations can promote integration by the way they function and operate as:   

Employers (in adopting workforce diversity strategies) Consumers of goods and service (in adopting supplier diversity strategies) Providers of goods and services tailored to a diverse population.

6. Assertive communications strategy    

Raise awareness: why action is needed, and work on its acceptance Identify opportunities and challenges: focus and guide action Build consensus: outreach and enhance stakeholder involvement Disseminate results: learning from good practices and working on sustainability.

7. Instruments and incentives    

Mission statements Charters Diversity labels Awards

8. Quality management tools 

Self-assessment 2

    

Target-setting Training Measuring (dis)satisfaction Auditing Reporting (indicators)

9. Scope and content of the Module    

Focused and generic Based on lessons learned (best practices) Target and describe categories of users Lead to and adapt existing tools

10. The Module should be used on an on-going basis and not only for a one-off project.


Explanatory note on the terms, scope, content and use of a Module on society’s commitment to integration with a focus on the commitment of public and private organisations and distinguishing between the purpose of organisations and the way they operate. 1. What does society’s commitment to immigrant integration mean? What are societies? Societies are made up of individuals with multiple identities interacting with each other in a variety of societal entities. There are many and different types of societal entity. They can be more or less formal and differ in size. They range from groups to communities, from public to private institutions, from civil society to business organisations. These interacting entities differ in nature, importance and power. They are dynamic and undergoing change, or are static and remain the same. They function by design or default, by written or unwritten rules. The nature of societal entities is defined by common sense, by general agreement or law and by how they describe themselves. What is integration? Integration is the participation of individuals in economic, social, cultural and civic life on an equal footing, thus contributing to and benefiting from society’s well-being. These individuals include those with a migration and refugee background and their descendants. It is therefore more appropriate to use the term ‘society’ than ‘host society.’ Integration can be described and measured in terms of openness and inclusion: the degree to which opportunities are offered and seized to take part in and become part of societal entities. What is a commitment? A commitment can express both a pledge or undertaking and the state or quality of dedication to certain principles. Societal entities can publicly make commitments, be committed to (doing) something and demonstrate commitment in their actions. Society’s commitment to immigrant integration is the communicated promise and dedication of societal entities to advance the active participation of immigrants and their descendants. 2. What does integration commitment entail? The rationale for action is that in open and inclusive societies, the association and engagement of individuals with societal entities increases these individuals’ stake in society, and enhances their sense of belonging, thus fostering societal integration. Despite the wide variety of societal entities, there are commonalities in the way they define and position themselves, how they function and operate, and consequently how they commit to integration. With a view to exploring and deciding on the scope of this Module, a comparison is made between the public sector and other societal entities (the private sector and the ‘third sector’).


The purpose of government The purpose of governmental entities is to create an environment of justice, freedom, security and prosperity that is conducive to the well-being of all. Rule of law principles codified in international treaties, constitutions and laws define government’s role as regulator and policy-maker. The commitment to integration finds an expression in the promise of and dedication to equal treatment, anti-discrimination, the sharing of opportunities and solidarity, which inspire:    

Robust anti-discrimination law1 Equality proofing of existing general policies and laws2 Specific migration and integration law ensuring equal rights and responsibilities3 Policies and practices facilitating equal access to the labour market, education and other public services (such as health and housing), decision-making and citizenship.4

The purpose of other societal entities The purpose of non-governmental entities is often described in acts establishing their legal status, and in mission statements. The former provide organisations with a proof of existence and licence to operate as, for example, a commercial firm, a social enterprise, a welfare organisation or a foundation. The latter describes what organisations aim to achieve with what means and on the basis of which values. The commitment to integration finds an expression in the acknowledgement of society’s diversity, which inspires:    

Programmes, projects and products that are designed to be beneficial to a diverse population Clear integration targets for specific categories of people within the population Compliance with anti-discrimination and equality policies and laws Screening of by-laws and internal regulations on provisions preventing or facilitating immigrant participation.

In conclusion, the scope of the Module can be summarised as follows:


For a European overview, see Isabelle Chopin et al, Developing Anti-discrimination Law in Europe - The 27 EU Member States compared (fourth edition of the comparative review of the transposition of the EC Racial Equality and Employment Equality Directives in the national law of 27 EU Member States) (2010), prepared by MPG and HEC for the European Commission: 2 For an example of equality impact assessments for local governments, see: 3 For a European overview, see Jan Niessen et al, Migrant Integration Policy Index (second edition of the comparison and ‘equality assessment’ of integration policies), published by the British Council and MPG, 2007). 4 For a collection of policy papers, news and good practices, visit the European Commission’s European Web Site on Integration at


Preparation and/or use of existing anti-discrimination law reviews and equality impact assessments with a view to ensuring compliance with the law. Public and private organisations can call upon official equality bodies or human rights agencies for support.

Mapping the population’s diversity and identifying needs as well as potentialities, for example by using existing population statistics and forecasts and/or employing methods such as regular and ad hoc surveys and targeted market research.5

Reviewing and/or linking the purpose and functioning of the organisation with immigrant integration goals and targets by, for example, reviewing and changing policies (possibly after stakeholder consultations), which will be reflected in vision-mission-strategy-values statements.

Designing and implementing an assertive diversity communications strategy which has both an internal dimension (promoting awareness, understanding and consensus on diversity issues and policies within organisations) and an external dimension (positioning organisations within the wider society, increasing acceptance, outreach to a diverse populations, etc.).

3. What shape could integration commitment take? Governmental and non-governmental agencies whose work is directly related to integration can make a commitment by setting general and specific integration goals and working on their achievement. Furthermore, these organisations, as well as those whose purpose is not directly or indirectly related to integration, can also promote integration by the way they function and operate. Different as they may be in many respects (size, purpose, legal status), all societal entities are employers as well as consumers and providers of goods and services. By adopting workforce and supplier diversity policies, organisations contribute to the socio- economic integration of immigrants. By tailoring their services to a diverse population they serve and equip the population better, thus enhancing integration and increasing well-being. The relevance for integration becomes clear when the potential impact is considered. Public authorities in the EU employ just over 22 per cent of the workforce and buy goods and services to the value of 17 per cent of the EU’s gross domestic product. These amounts may be bigger for private companies and smaller for most civil society organisations, with consequences for their respective impact on integration. Employment, procurement and service delivery policies quite often differ between the public, private and third sectors6. However, there are many similarities, and action in one sector thus sets examples for other sectors.


For example, Eurostat and national statistical offices, EU SILC, Labour Force Survey, European Social Survey, Euro barometer, etc. 6 See, for example:  For employment in the public sector: OECD, Fostering diversity in the public service (2009).  For public procurement: European Commission staff working document, Buying social: a guide to taking into account of social considerations in public procurement (2010).


By including immigrant integration into their employment, procurement and service delivery practices, governments at different levels can powerfully demonstrate their commitment to integration.7. In this way, they can lead by example and attract followers in the private and civil society sectors. The similarities in diversity strategies in procurement, employment and services across the public, private and third sectors can be summarised in a number of steps which could become the content of the Module on society’s commitment to immigrant integration.

4 The Module as a quality management tool The six steps illustrated above can be broken down into smaller ‘sub-steps’; there are already a range of standards-based management tools developed and used by both public and private sector organisations which can be employed for this purpose. Examples include those developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)8 and their national counterparts and by the

For public services: European Commission (Social Protection Committee), A voluntary European Quality Framework for social services (2010).


See for example the City of Vienna at See also the examples set by the City of Lyon and the French Ministry of Economy and Finance, soon to be followed by the Ministry of Interior: In Germany, see the call from the Association of German Towns and Municipalities for increasing the proportion of migrant workers in the public sector: BCrgerungsfragen/St%C3%A4dte%20und%20Gemeindebund%20f%C3%BCr%20%22Integrationspakt%22%20mit%20Bund%20und%20L%C3%A4ndern/. Finally, see also the 2008 call for adapted municipal services from Local Finland, the association of Finnish local authorities:;161;279;280;60954;95046;143361;143364;143377&field=FileAttachment&versi on=1 8 See


European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM).9 Other examples are the Australian Charter on Service Delivery in a Diverse Society10 and the Supplier Diversity Management Tool.11 The Module can use these tools and adapt them with a view to making them useful for smaller and even for more informal organisations. Such tools usually include measures to establish needs and potentialities, stakeholder consultations, communications strategies, target setting, 12 prospective impact assessments (such as market research), implementation and monitoring, retrospective impact assessments (complaint mechanisms, customer satisfaction surveys, etc.) and evaluations. The incremental (step-by-step) approach makes the Module a flexible quality management instrument that can be used on an on-going basis (and not only on a one off project basis). The communications component of the Module aims to:    

Raise awareness (explain why action is needed and work on its acceptance) Identify opportunities and challenges (to focus and guide action) Build consensus (to reach out to and increase involvement of stakeholders) Disseminate results (to contribute to sustainability).

The Module should also provide guidance on the measurement and evaluation of societal entities’ openness by using qualitative and quantitative indicators, including:      

Number of diversity policy plans and analysis of their contents Human and financial resources made available to support diversity policy implementation Number of recruitment, promotion and retention efforts and their success rates Number of surveys among potential employees, suppliers and (service) users and analysis of results Number of efforts to identify and (successfully) eliminate obstacles Uptake of opportunities:  number of people recruited, employed, and retained  number of suppliers added and engaged  number of services tailored to needs and user satisfaction.


See 10 See the tool as reproduced in the report on benchmarking integration policies prepared by Jan Niessen and Thomas Huddleston for the European Parliament (2007): 11 See Jan Niessen et al, Supplier Diversity Assessment Framework (published by Supplier Diversity Europe and MPG, forthcoming). 12 See Mary-Anne Kate, Target setting for improving the socio-economic situation of migrants and ethnic minorities in Europe. Paper prepared by MPG for the European Network Against Racism (2011) and available at:


Shaping society’s commitment to immigrant integration