Convergence is the process of closing the gap in performance and prospects between the wealthiest and poorest communities and in so doing bringing benefits for all. It involves creating a virtuous circle of investment and growth to tap into under-used resources and release their potential for growth. It requires commitment and action in a range of spheres by an alliance of partners over a number of decades. It offers the prize of a game-changing improvement in social and economic circumstances which in turn will boost long term growth, creating a balanced and sustainable economy in which all can share prosperity.
Achieving Convergence will be no easy task. Despite being home to some of the most vibrant, diverse and dynamic communities in the capital, the facts remain that people in the growth boroughs earn less, have fewer qualifications, are more likely to be unemployed, live in poor and overcrowded housing, be a victim of crime and die younger than an average Londoner. This has been true since Victorian times and has blighted the lives of successive generations whilst at the same time holding back the performance of the East London economy. The task is to change this to the benefit of future generations and the UK economy as a whole.
In delivering this task we have to our advantage the catalytic impact of the 2012 Olympics in increasing investment in and focusing the global standing of the Growth Boroughs. Alongside other major investments they have provided us with the platform to adopt the achievable objective, our Convergence principle that:
"Within 20 years the communities who host the 2012 Games will have the same social and economic chances as their neighbours across London."
In advance of the Games we set out the scope of this objective in our Strategic Regeneration Framework. It outlined what the Growth Boroughs wanted to achieve from London 2012. It set out how the lives of our communities could be improved by capitalising on the increased investment and global spotlight resulting from the Olympics. This was focused on the elements that would improve the lives and neighbourhoods of our communities. It set out the key spheres around which we would work and the benchmarks we would measure ourselves against.
As the partnership developed it became clear that a sharper focus was needed on the spheres of action that would really make a difference. Our Strategic Regeneration Framework was therefore re-born as our Convergence Framework. This streamlined our work around three themes:
- Creating wealth and reducing poverty
- Supporting healthier lifestyles
- Developing successful neighbourhoods
For each of these themes we have adopted specific objectives and deliverable action plans. These, and our achievements to date, are set out in the pages that follow.
Annual Reports provide more detail on this and can be accessed from the links in the right hand column.