This page is a one-stop resource for councillors and council officers to answer any questions you might have about taking in refugees and unaccompanied children. We will continue to update these resources as more information comes through - keep checking this page to stay up to date.

1. Where do we go for more information?

Local authorities should contact their Regional Strategic Migration Partnership (RSMPs) for more advice or if they are interested in participating in any of the programmes detailed on this page. Contacts below:


  Region Officer lead Email
  East of England Gosia Strona Malgorzata.Strona@eelga.gov.uk
  East Midlands Sarah Short Sarah.Short@emcouncils.gov.uk
  London - mayor@london.gov.uk
  North East Janine Hartley Janine_Hartley@middlesbrough.gov.uk
  North West Katy Wood K.wood@manchester.gov.uk
  South East Roy Millard RoyMillard@secouncils.gov.uk
  South West Sarah Short Sarah.Short@swcouncils.gov.uk
  Wales Anne Hubbard anne.hubbard@wlga.gov.uk
  West Midlands Dally Panesar Dalvinder.Panesar@birmingham.gov.uk
  Yorkshire & Humberside - admin@migrationyorkshire.org.uk

These programmes will run alongside existing programmes for resettling other refugees and the dispersal of asylum seeking adults and families.

2. What is councils' role in resettling unaccompanied children?

The National Transfer Scheme (NTS)

Local authorities have been asked and will continue to be asked to confirm the total number of unaccompanied children that they can support to their Regional Strategic Migration Partnership (RSMPs - see Q1). The National Transfer Scheme (NTS) aims to be voluntary and locally led, though Government would like to see all councils join the scheme. More information on the funding available can be found in Q4.

The NTS is built on each region taking a proportion of unaccompanied children in order to achieve a more equal distribution across the UK. Thus, if an unaccompanied child or young person arrives in a council with low numbers of unaccompanied children, the expectation is that the child or young person will stay in the care of that area. If they arrive in a council with high numbers, the child will be transferred. The children will transfer within the region - unless the region has high numbers and then the expectation is that the child will transfer to a council in another region.

No region is expected to have in excess of 0.07% in relation to their current total child population but each region is expected to increase their numbers to this threshold where appropriate. The 0.07 ratio is based on mid-2014 population estimates from the ONS and current data on numbers of asylum seeking children in councils based on financial claims submitted by local authorities, and will be reviewed annually. The ratio does not include children leaving care or out of area placements. More background information is given in government FAQs. It is hoped that the transfer scheme will be used to enable out of area placements to be transferred to the host authorities where this is mutually agreed.

A national team will allocate children to regions and the regional coordination function will to allocate the children a council. More information is given in a flowchart.

The Minister for Immigration, Robert Goodwill MP, attended the National Children's and Adults Social Care Conference on 3 November and indicated that there were no plans currently to make participation in the transfer scheme compulsory given confidence that sufficient numbers of authorities would come forward to offer placements.

Councils' responsibilities

The Immigration Act gives local authorities the power to transfer case responsibility for children to other councils around the country. Government is developing a protocol to underpin this transfer process. Under this, the entry authority will provide immediate support to the child. After the child has been accommodated by the entry authority for 24 hours they become a looked after child.

Authorities have a duty to notify if they think the child has been or could be a victim of modern slavery. The decision to transfer will take into account children's best interests alongside other considerations such as medical treatment, family ties and continuity of care.

The receiving local authority will become legally responsible for the child from the point that they confirm they transfer acceptance from the entry local authority. Authorities receiving transferred children then will have to meet statutory duties around assessment and placements.

The government has provided an outlined of the sort of accommodation that can be used. Councils considering what sort of services to develop or expand will wish to note that currently the vast majority of children who arrive in the UK and make a claim for asylum are male (around 90%) and are aged 16 or 17 (over 61%). Half of this age group currently are placed in semi-independent living arrangements and half are fostered. Nearly all under 16 year olds are fostered.  Q5 includes more information on support and accommodation options based on the experience from Kent. ADCS is also placing information to support councils on their website.

If the age of the child is disputed but accepted to be under 18 an age assessment will be completed by the receiving authority if the child is transferred, and by the entry authority if not.

The Immigration Act 2016 will introduce new provisions on support for care leavers who have been refused leave to remain.

Background

Government wrote to councils on 13 May with information on the future resettlement scheme for unaccompanied children. The National Transfer Scheme will include unaccompanied children who claim asylum after their arrival in the UK (UASC); those deemed at risk from countries around Syria (see Q9); and children from European countries (see Q3). The transfers as part of the scheme began on 1 July.

The Immigration Act 2016 places a duty on councils to provide information about available services and an obligation to set out in writing reasons for not accepting a transfer. It also includes a power for mandatory transfers, both across England and in individual councils, though government have indicated they wish to use these powers as a last resort.

There were over 3,000 asylum applications from UASC as of September 2016, a 15% rise from the previous year. At 31 March 2016, unaccompanied children represented 6 per cent of the looked after children population, and applications for asylum from this group made up 9 per cent of all asylum applications.

The highest numbers of UASC applications were from Afghan, Iranian, and Albanian children, with these 3 countries contributed to 52 per cent of the total UASC applications. There were 2,050 initial decisions relating to a UASC in the year ending September 2016, and of these, 31 per cent were grants of asylum or another form of protection, and 44 per cent were grants of temporary leave (UASC Leave). UASC applicants that are refused will include those from countries where it is safe to return children to their families, as well as some applicants who were determined to be over 18 following an age assessment.

Unaccompanied children enter the care of a council as a looked after child and have the same rights to help and support as a child who enters the care system for any other reason. Under previous regulations, children were the responsibility of the council where they first presented. As numbers increased, this has caused capacity issues for those areas which are ports of entry to the UK. The transfer scheme is designed to achieve a more equitable distribution to address these.

A UASC is

  • Under 18 when their asylum claim is submitted (or who, in the absence of documentary evidence, is assessed to be under that age)
  • Is applying for asylum in their own rights
  • and has no relative or guardian in the United Kingdom and is not being cared for by an adult who in law or by custom has the responsibility to do so.

Any child or young person claiming asylum undergo a welfare interviews by the Home Office to collect biometrics and bio data and to establish whether they have immediate health or protection needs. Children are referred to a local authority as soon as possible post arrival or post claiming asylum.

3. How are children in Europe being resettled, including those from Calais?

The Government has confirmed that it has transferred more than 900 unaccompanied children to the UK this year under both the family reunification provisions of the Dublin Regulation and the terms of section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, commonly known as the ‘Dubs Amendment'. This includes more than 750 children from France as part the Calais camp clearance, almost half of the unaccompanied children who were in the camp at the time of the clearance. The Government has stated that it continues to work closely with partners across Europe on unaccompanied asylum seeking children, with secondments to France, Greece and Italy. The total number of children will be transferred under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 will be announced in due course. Local authorities have been asked and will continue to be asked to confirm the total number of unaccompanied children that they can support to their Regional Strategic Migration Partnership (RSMPs - see Q1). More information is below.

The Dubs Amendment

On 4 May the Government announced that it will be resettling unaccompanied children from France, Greece and Italy to the UK. This commitment is set out in Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, commonly known as the 'Dubs amendment'.

The Government is continuing to work closely with Governments and NGOs in Greece and Italy to identify suitable cases for referral and to ensure that the child's best interests are being met in any transfer to the UK. More information on children resettled from the Calais camp is below.

Unaccompanied children without family connections will be placed into the care of local authorities through the new National Transfer Scheme (NTS – see Q3) with the same rates of funding provided (see Q4).

The Immigration Act required that Government to consult local authorities before arriving at a total number for the scheme. Local authorities have and will be continued to be asked to confirm the total number of unaccompanied children that could be placed in their area via the National Transfer Scheme with their RSMP (see Q1 for contact details).

The Dublin Treaty

Children are transferred to the UK to be reunited with family members under the Dublin Treaty on an ongoing basis. It is presumed that the nationality breakdown and ages will be similar from children who claim asylum after their arrival in the UK.

If family assessments are not completed in time, are deemed unsatisfactory or subsequently break down, children may be placed in temporary placements until a long term placement is secured via the National Transfer Scheme.

Operational Arrangements for arrivals under the Dublin Treaty

The core elements of the process are intended to be:

Prior to transfer:

  • The Home Office will have completed immigration, including age assessment, and Police National Computer checks. The Home Office is prioritising those under the age of 12.
  • The Home Office should have checked the address of relatives ahead of transfer and determined the validity of the family relationship in order for the child to be transferred under Dublin III. This will form the basis on which the borough of residence is determined.

Advance notification

  • Children's Services Directors should receive notification via the Home Office of the child's identity and the identity of the child's relatives. Notice should be received a minimum of 24 hours' ahead. The local authority is required to conduct an assessment of the relatives for suitability to care for the child. It is anticipated that most family ties will tend to be relatives other than parents - aunts, uncles, siblings
  • In cases where the child's relatives are not able to provide suitable care and accommodation, the child becomes an Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child and will enter the National Dispersal Scheme.

On arrival

  • Children will immediately be taken to Asylum Intake Unit in Croydon.
  • On the day of arrival, if relatives have been assessed by the local authority as appropriate and the screening process completed, the child may be reunited with their family.
  • If the viability assessment is not completed on the day of arrival, arrangements must be made to accommodate the child. In the case of children under 16 and girls, this will be via emergency foster care and in the case of over 16s, the Home Office is seeking to arrange for reception-centre accommodation to be provided.

Calais Camp transfers

The Government has confirmed that since 10 October more than 750 children from the Calais camp have come to the UK. This included approximately 200 children under the 'Dubs Amendment' who were placed via the National Transfer Scheme or reunited with family under the Dublin Treaty following assessments from local authorities. Government clarified the eligibility for transfer for children who lived in the migrant camp in Calais and UK Social Workers assessed the children from the Calais camps prior to arrival.

The Department of Education wrote to all Directors of Children's Services to clarify the status of the children under the Children Act at various points in the process, and the role local authorities will be expected to play in ensuring that arrangements are safe and sustainable. Further FAQ are on the ADCS website.

The clearance of the Calais camp has led to local authorities being involved in the development of a more rapid process than previously planned for in the development of the NTS. We are aware of the tremendous local, regional and national leadership shown in building capacity for this group of children at pace and at scale and we continue to push for full recovery of costs and for better, transparent and real time information. We are aware many children have already been reunited with family or supported by authorities, so if you have any experiences or issues you would like to share, please email info@local.gov.uk or share these with your RSMP.

Any placements that may have been made available for children from Calais which aren't taken up will be used for other unaccompanied children resettled via the National Transfer Scheme or other children coming from in Europe.

4. What funding is available?

Changes to funding

Local authorities will receive enhanced rates for UASC for new arrivals after 1 July 2016: £114 a day for under 16 year olds, £91 a day for 16-17 year olds and £200 a week for former unaccompanied children leaving care.

Although we are continuing to press for full funding, we have seen some important concessions from Government in response to sustained and strong lobbying:

  • it has been confirmed in Parliament that there is no intention to reduce the current daily rate for unaccompanied children;
  • there will be a strategy and review of funding in the spring;
  • local authorities may also be able to use the Controlling Migration Fund (CMF) to support initiatives that may benefit these children such as foster care recruitment campaigns or training for social workers (see below for more information)
  • English local authorities undertaking family assessments under Dublin III now will automatically receive a payment via the CMF (see below for more information)
  • The grant instructions have now been amended so that Local Authorities can claim funding to support children as unaccompanied asylum seeking children and those leaving care if new family arrangements for those children brought under the Dublin treaty arrangements break down;
  • the requirement to bear the costs of the first 25 care leavers has changed so that local authorities can claim funding for all care leavers who entered the UK or were transferred via the NTS after July 2016;
  • the rules have also changed so that can claim funding for all care leavers who were supported as unaccompanied children, removing the requirement to bear the costs of the first 25;
  • changes are being implemented under the Immigration Act which allow UASC care leavers to apply for student loans, reducing the costs to local authorities if those young people go on to further education.

We and other national partners including ADCS are raising ongoing funding issues. LGA lead members met the Immigration Minister on 22 November to raise ongoing concerns around funding, lack of fostering capacity and the resulting upward pressure on independent foster agency prices. They also fed back worries about new arrivals who may not be looked after long enough to qualify for leaving care support and the need to prevent children going missing.

The rates were set on the basis of analysis by the Home Office of financial information from local authorities of the costs of caring for unaccompanied children. Local authorities will want to include the full costs of support in any grant claims to ensure the forthcoming review of funding is based on detailed information on the support provided for this cohort of children to ensure their needs can be met.

The Controlling Migration Fund

The Controlling Migration Fund (CMF) is £100 million DCLG funding available for English local authorities over the remainder of Parliament to help ease pressures on local services linked to recent migration. The criteria are deliberately broad. Proposals must be local authority led, but may be in partnership with other councils, other public sector organisations or the voluntary and community sector. Further information can be found in the online prospectus. Interested authorities can also contact their RSMPs or migrationfund@communities.gsi.gov.uk for more information.

Spend on initiatives than improve or expand support for unaccompanied children can be bid for against £25 million of funding available in 2016/17. The CMF is not intended to duplicate or top-up funding already provided, such as through the grants. Authorities may wish to consider submitting bids to support the following activities:

  • Recruitment campaigns for social workers, support workers supported lodgings hosts and/or foster carers
  • Training for social workers on the specific needs of unaccompanied children
  • Additional English language provision
  • Specialist counselling

The CMF also will be used to make automatic payments to English LAs undertaking family assessments for Calais children being resettled under Dublin III. Payments will be £300 for each relevant assessment and these will be paid once all relevant assessments are concluded through a single s31 grant payment, based on Home Office data. This payment is expected around the end of January 2017.  These payments relate to the family assessment, associated report writing and liaison with Home Office on the outcome of the assessment. The payment is for the total assessment related to a child - so if there were more than one visit in relation to a child, this will be part of the £300 single payment. 

This one off payment doesn't cover family assessment of children who weren't in the Calais camp or any ongoing support then offered. The latter can be bid for as part of the first year of the CMF.

The government also is working on further information reducing the risk of children going missing. A £3 million Child Trafficking Protection Fund has been announced which aims to enable the delivery of new and innovative projects or initiatives to provide positive outcomes for potentially trafficked children.

5. What can we learn from Kent?

Many local authorities had volunteered to support Kent via the National Transfer scheme given the significant impact on their services of large number of arrivals. As of 13th June 2016, Kent had 861 UASC in their care. Over 95% of the Kent cohort were boys and the majority of these young people were 16 and 17 year olds. Most were either are Eritrean or Afghanistani, but there were also increasing numbers of children who are Sudanese, Egyptian, Syrian, Iranian or Iraqi.

Accommodation options
Local authorities should assess the needs of unaccompanied children and young people in line with their usual procedures, and select the most appropriate placement to meet their needs. The government has provided an outlined of the sort of accommodation that can be used.

Kent have provided some details of the support that they currently provide to unaccompanied minors in their care, which is outlined below for information.

Their current cohort of unaccompanied minors are largely supported in four placement types:

  • Foster care
  • Supported Lodgings
  • Supported Accommodation
  • Shared accommodation in the community

Foster care
This is generally used where the need is identified for a highly enhanced level of care, or the age of the young person is confirmed to be under the age of 16 years.

Kent placed their female unaccompanied minors (< 5%) and all male unaccompanied minors (c25%) under the age of 16 years into foster care. Kent do not generally use specialist foster carers, but find that some carers prefer working with this group of children and young people and develop particular expertise.

Supported Lodgings
This is used where a need is identified for enhanced support and a family based placement is considered appropriate.

Supported Accommodation
This is used where a need is identified for enhanced support but communal living with other young people is considered more appropriate than a family based placement. Support is provided alongside accommodation for between 12-18 hours a week, with in some cases permanent adult presence not directly related to the support provision.

Kent used this type of accommodation for < 10% of its cohort and currently spot purchases it from a variety of providers but is exploring the procurement of this type of accommodation on a commissioned basis.

Shared Accommodation
This is used where the assessment of need is that young people are able to manage their own day to day care with a low level of support from workers visiting the properties on a regular basis. Young people live independently, managing their own day to day care. Support is provided on a needs led basis by a combination of SW, SWA and support workers.

Kent used this for >70% of it UASC, generally provided via contracts, whereby the County Council is the formal tenant.

6. What is the existing information and guidance?

Outline of Home Office decision making process Current Department for Education guidance UASC resource page on ADCS website: Joint guidance on age assessment NRPF Network summary of the Immigration Act

Government has announced that there will be a strategy and review of funding in the spring as well as a review of the current statutory guidance on care of unaccompanied and trafficked children.

7. What should you do if you want to participate in the Syrian resettlement scheme?

Do contact your RSMPs for any advice or queries before joining the scheme. You may wish to still involve your RSMPs in the detail of any direct negotiation with government around pledge levels and resettling arrivals given their expertise. RSMPs will also be able to work with you on using the offers from other partners made locally and regionally, such as Housing Associations, businesses, faith, community and voluntary sector groups. The central government team also may contact individual local authorities directly around participation in the scheme and you may still wish to liaise with RSMPs to discuss pledge levels and local delivery.

Things to consider when setting up or reviewing your resettlement programme are included in our Syrian refugee resettlement - A guide for local authorities. More information including good practice examples are included in the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme Knowledge Hub group.

The government announced that the 20,000 local authority pledges required to meet the Government's commitment to resettle Syrian refugees have been secured. However, government has indicated that a local authority that has not yet pledged any places but wants to get involved can still indicated their wish to participate. This allows government to ensure new arrivals can be settled in the places that can best meet the needs of families and because the VPR is not the only resettlement scheme with which the support and assistance of local authorities is needed.

Councils will receive a contribution to their costs for five years. The Chancellor announced that over £460 million of the overseas aid budget will be used by 2019-20 across the statutory sector to assist with first year costs. Government will provide around a further £130 million by 2019-20 just to local authorities to contribute to the costs of supporting refugees up to their fifth year, including an 'extreme cases' fund that will assist with high cost cases. Other statutory services will receive funding via the normal routes after year one.

The Home Office also announced in September a £10m funding package to increase the existing English language tuition for those arriving under the Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme (VPRS). The additional funding for English language training will mean all adults arriving through the scheme will receive an extra 12 hours a week of tuition for up to six months. Regional Strategic Migration Partnerships will also be funded support this aspect of the programme.

The scheme will continue to run alongside other resettlement schemes and other asylum procedures. Central and local government also have been working together to operate resettlement schemes for many years.

8. How does the current Syrian resettlement scheme work?

It was announced on 7 September 2015 that Britain should resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the rest of the Parliament. Quarterly Immigration Statistics outline the numbers of arrivals under the scheme. Figures published on 1 December indicated that a total of 4,414 Syrians have been resettled under the scheme since it began, 4,162 of these arriving in the 12 months to the end of September 2016.

Refugees will be taken from the camps in the countries neighbouring Syria. The UK has been involved in an existing scheme to resettle Syrian refugees for a couple of years.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will continue to refer people to the scheme. The UK sets the criteria. It currently prioritises those who cannot be supported effectively in their region of origin: women, children and young people at risk, people in severe need of medical care and survivors of torture and violence, refugees with legal and/or physical protection needs; refugees with medical needs or disabilities; persons at risk due to their sexual orientation or gender identity; and refugees with family links in resettlement countries.

Refugees will be granted a five year humanitarian protection visa. This will entitle them to access to public funds, access to the labour market and the possibility of a family reunion.

The UNHCR conduct a series of checks including a robust identification process prior to referring a refugee to the UK scheme. Referrals are then further screened and considered by the Home Office for suitability for entry to the UK. The Home Office check they meet eligibility criteria and to carry out medical and security checks. The Home Office retain the right to reject on security, war crimes or other grounds.

By the time a UNHCR referred refugee arrives in the UK they have been through a thorough two-stage vetting process to ensure government knows who is entering the country. This includes the taking of biometrics, documentary evidence and interviews. Security is also regarded as a continual process that does not stop as soon as a refugee arrives in the UK.

Government are looking the way in which families are processed through the current scheme to ensure they are better matched to their new area. If a refugee makes plans to move to another part of the UK post their arrival, local authorities are asked to notify the local authority that the refugee is planning to move to. Refugees will be told this as part of their pre arrival information as well.

Do look for updates from the government here: Government announcements

9. How will the Vulnerable Children's Resettlement Scheme programme work?

The Minister announced on 21 April that an additional 3,000 children would be resettled in the UK from the Middle East and North Africa region over the lifetime of this Parliament. Government's intention is to resettle several hundred as part of this programme in its first year. This programme will include refugee 'children at risk' as defined by UNHCR and if UNHCR deems the resettlement is in the child's best interest.

Following recommendations from UNHCR, the 'Vulnerable Children's Resettlement Programme' (VCRS) will not just target unaccompanied children deemed at risk, but also include children to be resettled with their family members or carers where appropriate. The 3,000 figure thus will include any adults resettled with children. It is expected that only a small number of this cohort will be unaccompanied children.

Local authorities have been asked to confirm with their Regional Strategic Migration Partnership whether they would be able to settle these families, and the offers of accommodation they would be able to make. Local authorities may decide to see this group as part of its existing pledges or be seen as a new commitment that will need separate pledges.

The key difference between this scheme and the SVPR is that this scheme is open to all nationalities in the region in need of protection, due to the vulnerability of a child or children. Cases will be resettled from the existing host countries for the Syrian scheme: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.

Children arriving in families will receive the same funding levels as the current Syrian scheme, with the access to the exceptional circumstances fund; will be granted five years 'Humanitarian Protection', with the same rights to family reunification; and will arrive and then be supported via the same process as the Syrian families.

The majority of children will arrive with their parents. A small number will arrive with non-parental care givers. The government is considering the safeguarding implications of these, including if these arrangements break down.

The small number of unaccompanied children brought into the UK via this route will be placed in local authorities via the National Transfer Scheme, with the same rates of funding provided – see question 2 & 3. Local authorities will be considering the specific support needs that unaccompanied children have, and additionally may have consider the specific needs of children who did not necessarily originally aim to live in the UK and the impacts of the abuse and exploitation listed below.

Those deemed to be 'at risk' by UNHCR are: those with specific medical needs or disabilities; survivors of or those at risk of violence, abuse or exploitation including sexual and gender based violence; children at risk of harmful traditional practices such as FGM or forced marriage; children without legal documentation, children in detention, children at risk of loosing their refugee status, and children at risk of not attending school, children associated with armed forces or groups, facing the risk of child labour or already work, and child carers. The best interest process is being developed with NGOs.

As with the Syrian programme, children will arrive with information about their needs and wishes from a pre-screening interviews, including information on their health and education needs. IOM will provide a medical assessment, and transportation. Government is exploring how to involve local authorities in the assessment process.

10. What do we say to residents making other offers of help?

You can direct residents to the government website which outlines what individuals can do to help: www.gov.uk/helprefugees.

Significant or substantive offers of assistance can be referred to RSMPs. This will ensure that the support provided is tailored to vulnerable people's needs in the most appropriate way.

If residents have a whole property that could be used to house refugees you might want to collate the details of these properties so you can assess whether you can make use of their offer. For the many other offers (such as local people wanting to make a donation or offer assistance in kind) you may want to direct people to the local and national charities which are offering support to refugees already in the UK.

11. What do we know about asylum seekers, refugees and migrants coming to the country?

Facts and Figures

Recent information on patterns of migration and asylum can be found here. The United Nations Refugee Agency operates the current Syrian resettlement scheme and they have a resource covering asylum seekers and refugees in the UK: The Facts: Asylum in the UK. Further 'myth busting' information can be found on Refugee Week's facts about refugees.

Asylum Seekers

Those who claim asylum after they arrive in the UK go through a different process than those settled under resettlement schemes who receive five year humanitarian protection visas. Those thought to have legitimate claims for asylum and are unable to support themselves are placed into accommodation and given an allowance to live on while their claims are considered. This support is funded by the government. Asylum seekers are dispersed across the UK, apart from London. Becoming a dispersal area is voluntary and there are agreed 'cluster limits' in terms of the number of asylum seekers per population that can be placed in any area. Simple claims are aimed to be processed within six months, but there are some complex cases that have lasted for much longer. The majority of decisions are made in favour of granting asylum. Once asylum seekers are given status, they are entitled to work and receive benefits – and if appropriate, apply for housing.More information is available here: Asylum support page.

The only asylum seekers directly supported by local authorities are unaccompanied asylum seeking children – see question 2.

No recourse to public funds

Failed asylum seekers and others without status to stay in the UK may also be supported if they have children or social care needs. Local authorities' responsibilities for failed asylum seekers is a very complex and contested area of law. More information on those without recourse to public funds can be found here.

Community cohesion

Councils have great expertise in bringing communities together and existing resources to ensure people are welcome in local areas are available here.

12. How is accommodation and support for asylum seekers for being changed?

The Home Office is designing, developing and procuring the future model for asylum accommodation and support, replacing the existing COMPASS arrangements. The Asylum Accommodation and Support Transformation (AAST) project aims to implement a model which creates an efficient and high quality asylum accommodation and support system. The scope covers the end-to-end ‘asylum support business', including the provision of accommodation and welfare services, back office processing, compliance and inspections.

Project timescale:

  • Design preferred option by July 2017
  • Procurement from September 2017
  • Transition from September 2018-2019
  • Contract go-live September 2019

To date, the project has engaged with local authorities, statutory partners, third sector partners, existing suppliers and business associations.  It will continue to engage with the LGA and local authorities via SMPs. For more information, contact your SMP or the Home Office team at AAST@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

13. What is the role of the LGA?

The member led LGA Asylum, Refugee and Migration Task Group is made up of regional member and RSMP representation covering all of the English regions, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland and focuses upon the issues around the asylum, refugee and migration agenda from a local government perspective. The LGA, via the Task Group, has been involved in discussions with Government and with regions for a long period of time on how to work together to find sustainable solutions that minimise the pressures on local authorities, local communities and vulnerable individuals.

As well as working on how the scheme will be funded, we are working with government and partners to clarify what resettlement schemes will look like in practice. The LGA view is that aligned regionally coordinated programmes can meet the needs of vulnerable children and families, more quickly whilst minimising the impact on local communities; and utilising and funding central, regional and local governments' strategic and operational expertise and innovative practice.

10 January 2017

Latest news

13 January
LGA responds to PAC report on Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme

3 November
Councils need long term funding commitment for unaccompanied asylum seeking children

14 October 2016
Councils preparing to provide support to children arriving from Calais next week

13 September 2016
LGA responds to the NAO report on the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme

4 September 2016
LGA responds to Home Office announcement on Syrian refugees

17 August 2016
Local political leaders visit 'Calais jungle'

3 August 2016
LGA responds to Home Affairs Select Committee Report on Migration August 2016

4 May 2016
LGA responds to PM announcement on unaccompanied asylum seeking children in Europe

21 April 2016
LGA responds to government's commitment to support a further 3,000 ‘at risk' child refugees

20 April 2016
LGA responds to national dispersal scheme for unaccompanied asylum seeking children

28 January 2016
LGA responds to Government announcement on unaccompanied

16 December 2015
Councils ensure 1,000 Syrian refugees settled in UK before Christmas

25 November 2015
Councils respond to Syrian refugee funding announcement

3 October 2015
LGA responds to Government funding pledge for Syrian refugee resettlement scheme

16 September 2015
LGA responds to Home Secretary's statement on refugee crisis

10 September 2015
LGA update on refugee situation

7 September 2015
LGA responds to Prime Minister's announcement on refugee situation

3 September 2015
LGA statement on refugee situation

See also:
LGA task group on refugees