The main forum for a clear and ongoing discussion at a senior officer level between national government and local government on a placed based and more equitable approach to asylum dispersal and resettlement programmes based on jointly agreed principles and arrangements
Role and purpose
Its aims are to:
- Be the main forum for a clear and ongoing discussion at a senior officer level between national government and local government on a placed based and more equitable approach to asylum dispersal and resettlement programmes based on jointly agreed principles and arrangements outlined below.
- Focus on improved engagement, joint working and understanding between central and local government over time at a national level to support more balanced and effective partnership relationships.
- Develop a greater shared understanding across the UK of the impacts on and resource implications for councils and local partners of their role throughout the asylum process and in other programmes.
Its focus will include:
- Providing joint oversight of the arrangements for the accommodation of dispersed asylum seekers at a national level; reviewing dispersal strategically on a national basis to address pressures in particular parts of the country via a more equitable distribution of asylum seekers and a joint approach to clusters and concentrations; and discussing contingency arrangements based on the principle of flexibility, transparency, and collaboration.
- Advice on and oversight of wider resettlement issues particularly in terms of the role of local government, and the impact on place.
- In order to enable central government and local government to work in partnership to develop and deliver a joint programme of activity which seeks to achieve significant and tangible progress on a place-based approach, the Group will.
- Have access to any data and information necessary to support local government’s role in the delivery of asylum dispersal, resettlement, and other programmes, subject to mutually agreed data protection, commercial and legal considerations.
- Ensure that any actions on joint priorities made nationally are agreed jointly, with early notification provided of any intended actions or decisions allowing for comment and change, based on the principles of transparency, co-design, and co-production.
- Look to deliver shared objectives of better outcomes for new arrivals and the communities in which they are placed.
- The Group consists of Home Office, the Department for Housing, Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and local government representation covering all English regions, Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland, with Chief Executive nominations received via the Regional Strategic Migration Partnerships. Other attendees may be invited subject to the meeting agenda.
- It can act as an escalation point for engagement and governance structures at a regional and devolved level related to the role and purpose of the Group, as outlined above. Discussion and actions by the Group can feed into advice to Ministers and the LGA’s Asylum Refugee and Migration Task Group. Issues can be escalated to this political level if necessary
- Local government attendees will report back to Chief Executives in their region and in turn will identify and share issues from their region at a strategic level at meetings. If the nominated regional Chief Executive representative cannot attend, s/he will secure another Chief Executive from the region to represent the region as a substitute for that meeting.
- The discussion at the meeting will be constructive, open, and honest and attendees will respect confidentiality when appropriate.
- The scope, terms of reference and membership of the Group will be subject to review in case its current focus needs to change.
- The Group is co-chaired by the Chief Executive of the Local Government Association and the Director of Asylum Support from the Home Office.
- All papers will be submitted and circulated a week in advance of the meeting date, unless an alternate deadline is agreed by the co-chairs.
- Any decision or action agreed through the Group cannot be amended or overturned without the prior consultation and consent of the co-chairs and the Group.
- The Group can establish thematic deep dive groups to progress actions, discuss items in further detail and report back to the group. Any such group will feedback progress, have a clear, agreed purpose and be timebound to the completion of a agreed product or conclusion of discussion, to be outlined in each respective sub-group’s terms of reference. Each of these groups are to have a central and local government designated lead.
- The Group will meet quarterly, with additional or extended meetings to be held if necessary with the agreement of both co-chairs. Similarly, no sub-groups of the Group can be established without the agreement of the group.