The DIVE project aimed to encourage cities to capitalise on the diversity of their population. Cities are a key factor in successful integration strategies and play an essential role in helping migrants integrate into their new societies. Therefore, DIVE focused on policies for the promotion of diversity and equality in municipalities and looked at how cities can effectively implement these policies for diversity management and equal opportunities.
DIVE was co-financed by the European Commission, DG Justice, Freedom and Security through the European Integration Fund.
Cities Accommodating Diversity final report
At the INTEGRATING CITIES IV conference in London on 22 February 2010, the results from the peer-review project DIVE were launched. The DIVE project produced a final publication which contains an analysis of the project findings, allowing for a transnational comparison of the partner cities, highlighting good practices in local integration strategies and recommendations on any areas that need improvement to meet the DIVE benchmark.
European cities are becoming ever more diverse, with new migrants arriving and contributing to their growth in a variety of ways. As key actors supporting the integration of migrants into their new societies, city governments must continuously adapt to the needs of new population groups. The DIVE project looked at how cities can effectively implement policies that embrace diversity and create equal opportunities, allowing them to harness the benefits of their diverse populations. The report provides recommendations that can be applied to any city in Europe, independent of local contexts.
The publication also features an overview of the benchmarking method developed by the DIVE partners and provides a detailed analysis of common challenges and recommendations in identified areas. In addition, good practice examples from each peer city are presented and discussed. These can act as inspiration for local authorities in planning or adapting their future policies and services in the integration field.
METHODOLOGY AND ACTIVITIES
Benchmarking & peer reviewing
The DIVE project used a combination of benchmarking and peer reviewing in assessing the partners cities’ practices and policies in the promotion of diversity and equality. Such a combination allows for a research and evaluation approach, where a benchmark is initially developed and then tested through a visit by peers from the partner city administrations to another city. You can find more detailed information on this approach below.
DIVE peer reviews
Peer reviews in the four major European cities of Amsterdam, Berlin, Leeds and Rome are at the core of the DIVE project. These peer reviews evaluated how city governments promote and manage diversity and equality in their roles as buyers of goods and services, as employers, as policymakers and providers of services. The assessment followed a structured format, based on a set of benchmarks on the promotion of diversity and equality management and interviews and empirical research carried out by senior city officials. During intensive visits to the peer review cities, peers met with a range of stakeholders including their counterparts in the administration, local politicians and representatives of civil society. Experiences were compiled in a final DIVE Benchmark Report to be shared with actors across Europe.
Each peer review visit lasted four days with an intensive programme of interviews and workshops. Each peer review team was made up of seven participants.
What is a benchmark?
A benchmark represents a common standard to aspire to and a reference against which performance can be measured – think of it as an ‘ideal’ to strive for. The process of comparing one’s city against other cities helps identify strengths and weaknesses in existing polices and practice and suggests areas for improvement. If these improvements are adopted and implemented they can lead to better governance and service-delivery.
What is a peer review?
A peer review is a tool for mutual learning whereby local policies, programmes and practices are evaluated by colleagues from other cities – peers who act as ‘critical friends’. Peers face similar issues, work in similar structures and with similar means. Each peer is familiar with the relevant issues being assessed and brings her/his own perspective and expertise to the exercise. Think of a peer as your counterpart in another city administration dealing with day-to-day implementation of EU, national or local government policy whose examination of your city’s approach is well informed through experience.
Why use a combination of a benchmark & peer reviewing?
Peer reviews provide an independent review of policies and practices by peers coming from similar professional backgrounds, from different cities in different countries exchanging knowledge, skills and experiences. Peer reviews and benchmarks combined contribute to raising awareness about areas for improvement, by providing a common standard against which practices can be evaluated, and building further capacity. Using a benchmark further allows for that comparative analysis between cities and a tool whereby peers can identify transferable practices. To see this combination in practice, click here to read about the benchmark used in the INTI-Cities publication ‘Benchmarking Integration Governance in Europe’s Cities’ and the various steps involved in carrying out a peer review.