This project was in response to the Home Secretary’s pledge in July to “pilot a scheme to manage vulnerable women in the community who would otherwise be detained at Yarl’s Wood”2 in response to the follow-up report3 by Stephen Shaw into the welfare in detention of vulnerable persons. The aim of the pilot was to improve voluntary engagement with the immigration system for asylum seekers who would otherwise be detained whilst being supported in the community to resolve their immigration status in a more humane and cost-effective way.
The project managed single women over the age of 18 years, without dependants, who had no offending history, no imminent removal directions and who had been refused asylum. During their time on the pilot Action Access staff met with participants every week to ensure they had access to the support required to reassess their protection needs (asylum claim) and make an informed decision about their future. All participants were required to continue to report to the Home Office.
The UNHCR has been actively engaged in the discussions about the design of this project and oversaw the monitoring and evaluation of this pilot. Their full evaluation will be published in July, however, you can read their inception report here – NatCen Social Research.
Action Foundation endorse the principles of an ‘Alternative to Detention’ (AtD)4 in placing clients, who would otherwise be detained, in locally managed accommodation. Engaging in this work is in line with our philosophy of working with destitute people seeking asylum (who have no recourse to public funds) whilst in the community, assisting them to maintain contact with the UKVI, access legal, health and other services necessary to build sufficient trust to generate outcomes which satisfy all stakeholders in resolving client’s immigration status.