Good practice in social care for refugees and asylum seekers

Pointers for good practice: Organisational foundations

Pointers for good practice in social care for asylum seekers and refugees

These pointers for good practice have been developed from a report that involved a systematic review of the literature and a practice survey, including the views of asylum seekers and refugees, social care providers and refugee and community organisations (see SCIE Report 31 Good practice in social care for refugees and asylum seekers).

Organisational foundations

Organisational commitment

Securing organisational commitment to promoting the wellbeing of asylum seekers and refugees, as an integral element of mainstream social care policies, is an important first step and will facilitate consideration of the specific needs of asylum seekers and refugees in policy and service developments.

Development of strong multi-agency partnerships

Multi-agency partnerships with a clear focus on asylum seekers and refugees, at both strategic and operational levels, will facilitate the development of access to appropriate social care provision. It is clear that the social care needs of asylum seekers and refugees are intertwined with needs in relation to health, housing, benefits, social support and, for children and young people, education and secure relationships.

See practice example: MARIM Manchester

A strategic approach

The development of a local strategy will enable local authorities, and their partners, to plan and develop services for current and future populations of asylum seekers and refugees, as well as other migrant populations. Strategy development should be based on a joint strategic needs assessment (JSNA), which local authorities and clinical commissioning groups have been under a statutory duty to produce since 1 April 2008. This will facilitate planning for changes in the population at a local, regional and national level and highlight the implications for staffing and service delivery (e.g. the development of culturally appropriate services or increasing numbers of older refugees).
Statutory guidance on joint strategic needs assessments and joint health and wellbeing strategies

Consider the application of existing policies that provide a framework for the provision of social care – particularly equality and diversity policies, the safeguarding agenda and the implementation of personalisation and integration policies.

Be clear about the outcomes to be achieved so that they drive the commissioning process and aim toward outcomes related to promoting well-being and tackling inequalities.

Acknowledge the contribution of voluntary and community sector initiatives, and the importance of sustainable investment to enable these organisations to build capacity.
Use evaluation tools to assess the impact of implementation on outcomes for asylum seekers and refugees

Involving asylum seekers and refugees

Involving refugee and community organisations and asylum seekers and refugees in the JSNA and related processes for service development and for provision is acknowledged good practice and the outcome will be more appropriate provision. The methods for this need to:

Workforce development

Workforce development is needed to ensure a focus on and expertise in relation to asylum seekers and refugees with specific social care needs. This includes:

See practice example: Royal Borough of Kingston

See Hill et al. (2009) ‘Inter-professional learning to prepare medical and social work students for practice with asylum seekers and refugees’, 3, 298−308. Social Work Education. This provides a description of inter-professional workshops for medical and social work students, as part of pre-qualification training.

Monitoring and review