Good practice in social care for refugees and asylum seekers

Key messages from the research

This guide has been developed from a focused literature review and a practice survey to establish the evidence for good practice in meeting the social care needs of asylum seekers and refugees (see SCIE Report 31)

Focused literature review

The aim of the literature review was to examine the research evidence to identify positive outcomes and good practice in social care provision for asylum seekers and refugees. It involved a systematic search of published and unpublished material and web-based sources for the period 2000−2008. In 2013 this initial search was updated to include items from 2008 onwards.

Practice survey

The aim of the practice survey was to explore what is currently happening in social care provision for asylum seekers and refugees. This included:

The full research report.

Key findings

Another issue that emerged from the 2013 search was concern surrounding the wellbeing of migrants detained under the UK Immigration Act in immigration removal centres (sometimes referred to as detention centres). The literature highlighted both the adverse effects of detention on detainees and also a lack of access health and social care services.

4. There was strong agreement from both the literature review and the practice survey as to what good practice in social care should look like. The areas for suggested good practice are:

Improving access

Effective communication

High-quality service provision

Facilitating self-organisation and innovation

Strong partnership working

Six critical steps were identified that provide a foundation for good practice:

5. Local authorities need to be supported in their role of providing access to appropriate personalised provision for asylum seekers and refugees by recognition of their responsibilities to preserve the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. This support includes appropriate levels of funding to enable local authorities to discharge their responsibilities and clear guidance from the Department of Health (DH) and the Home Office.
6. The review identified significant gaps in the evidence base for good practice in social care. There is a need for further research in this area including: