Refugee Inclusion Strategy. Action Plan

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1 Fulfilling Potential Diverse and Cohesive Communities Accessing Services Refugee Inclusion Strategy Action Plan

2 ISBN Crown copyright 2011 WG-12671

3 Refugee Inclusion Strategy Action Plan The Welsh Government welcomes refugees and asylum seekers to Wales and is fully committed to ensuring that they are treated with dignity and respect upon their arrival. We want refugees to become full and active members of our society, making a full contribution to Welsh life and culture. The Welsh Government s vision of refugee inclusion in Wales was set out in the Refugee Inclusion Strategy published in It is important to recognise that we are now operating in a much changed financial landscape in terms of both the funding that is available for service provision, and also the funding available to support community organisations. This does not, and should not however detract from the vision and aims set out in the Strategy. This Action Plan should be seen in conjunction with the Strategy and supports it in setting out what we want to achieve, and importantly how we will achieve it. The overall aim of the Strategy was to support and enable refugees to rebuild their lives in Wales and to be able to make a full contribution to Welsh society. To make this a reality, refugee inclusion must be about both participation and partnership. The participation of refugees in decision-making, as well as monitoring and evaluating policy, is central to inclusion, as is the need to address concerns of non refugee communities. Partnership working is needed between the Welsh Government and the many community organisations that are working with refugees in Wales. The following Action Plan has been developed to show how we as a Government are meeting our commitments to refugees in Wales. This Action Plan will: Set out the actions the Welsh Government and its partner organisations will take over the coming years to achieve the objectives outlined in the Refugee Inclusion Strategy; and Provide a framework for monitoring and evaluating achievements against objectives. The Refugee Inclusion Strategy and this accompanying Action Plan are about achieving the establishment of mutual and responsible relationships between refugees and communities, between civil society and Government. Refugees can and do make a real contribution to Wales and to Welsh life. As the Welsh Government, we are committed to ensuring that this continues. 1

4 PRIORITY 1: SUPPORTING THE MOST VULNERABLE SEPARATED CHILDREN AND FAMILIES Lead Responsibility: Department for Local Government and Communities Department for Health and Social Services Priority 1 Action 1 Birth Organisation Lead Action Status To ensure equality of access to maternity services for pregnant asylum seekers. Public Health Wales Welsh Government Wales Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Advisory Group (WASRHAG) Wales What has happened? WASRHAG has set up a dispersals sub-group which will examine the health aspects of dispersal. This includes maternity care for asylum seeking women. The Wales Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Advisory Group, chaired by the National Public Health Service for Wales, will identify routes to improved maternity care for pregnant asylum seekers (2011). 2

5 Priority 1 Action 2 Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Organisation Lead Action Status To facilitate the development of an All Wales Child Protection protocol to promote and safeguard the welfare of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) including those subject to age disputes. Welsh Government All Wales Child Protection Procedures Group (AWCPPRG) AWCPPRG What has happened? A draft Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Protocol has been sent out to all Local Safeguarding Children Boards in Wales for a three month consultation period. The UK Border Agency is taking forward a working group on Age Assessment with stakeholders including Local Authorities in Wales to find a way of ensuring greater consistency relating to age assessments. The consultation period has now closed and a final version of the Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Protocol will be added to the All Wales Child Protection Procedures pack (summer 2011). Meetings by the Working Group on Age Assessment are ongoing. 3

6 Priority 1 Action 3 Advocacy Organisation Lead Action Status The Welsh Government will work with the Welsh Refugee Council, advocacy providers in Wales and universal advocacy provision to put in place sustainable advocacy provision to support unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people, including those who are age disputed (0-25). Welsh Government Advocacy Unit We will also work to raise awareness of the advocacy needs of unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people across Wales. What has happened? The Welsh Government launched MEIC - a universal advocacy help line for 0-25 year olds in May The Welsh Government issued advisory guidance for Local Authorities on advocacy provision for looked after children and young people and those on health care settings in 2009, and is soon to issue statutory guidance to reinforce. The Welsh Refugee Council has facilitated 2 free training sessions in South Wales on advocacy for unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people for specialist advocacy providers. The Welsh Government will facilitate the provision of training on advocacy for unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people for specialist advocacy providers across Wales (2011). Consultation on the draft statutory guidance closed on 4 April and subject to Ministerial agreement the guidance should issue in the summer (2011). A report will be submitted outlining the issues and making recommendations for working with unaccompanied asylum seeking children in Wales (2011). 4

7 Priority 1 Action 4 Trafficking of Children and Vulnerable Adults Organisation Lead Action Status The Welsh Government will take steps to ensure that the implementation of the Right to be Safe strategy, recognises all forms of violence against women and domestic abuse faced by refugee and asylum seeker women and girls before, during and after their journey to the UK. Welsh Government Children s Safeguarding and Children s Health and Social Services Community Safety Division The Welsh Government will respond to the concerns raised in the Children s Commissioner s report on Child Trafficking by (ECPAT) Bordering on Concern, Child Trafficking in Wales. What has happened? The then Minister for Social Justice and Local Government launched The Right to be Safe, a 6-year integrated strategy for tackling all forms of violence against women including domestic abuse, rape, forced marriage, trafficking, honour crimes and genital mutilation. The first annual report on the Welsh Government's performance against the priorities contained within 'The Right to be Safe' strategy, and its 3-year implementation plan to tackle violence against women and domestic abuse was published on 14 July Bob Tooby was appointed as the All Wales The Welsh Government will: Explore producing a general information leaflet and holding an event on Child Trafficking to mark Anti Slavery Day on 18 October Develop and publish a specialist leaflet on Female Genital Mutilation (autumn 2011). Develop and implement culturally sensitive information for local communities on forced marriage and honour based violence (December 2011). Provide further annual reports on performance against the priorities contained within 'The Right to be Safe' strategy, and its 3-year implementation plan to tackle 5

8 Anti-Human-Trafficking Coordinator in April The coordinator s role, funded by the Welsh Government, will be to ensure that a multi-agency approach is adopted to help eliminate human trafficking in Wales. Child Trafficking The Welsh Government has: Convened an All Wales Child Trafficking Group. Commissioned and launched an online resource for practitioners to help safeguard the victims of Child Trafficking produced by ECPAT. Facilitated the production of an All Wales Child Trafficking protocol which will form part of national child protection procedures. Developed and rolled out free training on Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence. violence against women and domestic abuse ( ). The Wales Strategic Migration Partnership will carry out a scoping exercise looking into the prevalence of violence against women in asylum seeking, refugee and migrant communities. It will establish current practice by support agencies and look to develop best practice advice (2012). The Welsh Local Government Association has: Produced an audit of Local Safeguarding Children Boards and Social Services child trafficking knowledge, procedures and training. Trafficking of Adults The Welsh Government has funded the Black Association of Women Step Out (BAWSO) to provide a safer housing project, for women who have been trafficked, in North Wales. The project will run as a pilot for the 1 st year to identify if there is an ongoing need for this service. Female Genital Mutilation 6

9 The Welsh Government funded the production of a specialist storyboard produced by Black Association of Women Step Out for use with families of children considered to be at risk of Female Genital Mutilation. PRIORITY 2: ACCESS TO SERVICES Lead Responsibility: Department for Education and Skills Department for Health and Social Services Department for Local Government and Communities Department for Housing Regeneration and Heritage Priority 2 Action 1 Organisation Lead Action Status To review the provision of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and work actively to increase ESOL availability for Asylum Seekers and Refugees. Welsh Government Department for Education and Skills 7

10 What has happened? The Welsh Government established an English for Speakers of Other Languages Advisory Group, to devise an ESOL approach for Wales based on Welsh Government commissioned research. Consultations were held with interested parties including Asylum and Refugee Stakeholder Groups and Refugee Community Organisations in October 2010 to agree on the key priorities for ESOL development in Wales. The Employer Pledge to deliver ESOL in the workplace has been expanded via the European Social Fund. ESOL and Basic Skills are two of the key priority areas highlighted within the Adult Community Learning policy statement Delivering Community Learning for Wales which was published in November Adult and Community Learning is delivered both by Local Authorities and Further Education Institutions in Wales. The Welsh Government will actively work to support refugees and asylum seekers through the provision of ESOL by : Reviewing the ESOL Advisory Group's Action Plan and delivering actions. Exploring how asylum seeking or refugee young people are supported when they make the transition from school to further education and seeking to make improvements. Developing closer working relationships between the ESOL advisory group and Local Authority Ethnic Minority Achievement co-ordinators (whose work includes support to refugee and asylum seeking children) to improve national forward planning of ESOL provision. ( ) 8

11 Priority 2 Action 2 Organisation Lead Action Status To provide a healthcare service for all asylum seekers in Wales based on clinical need. What has happened? Welsh Government Wales Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Advisory Group The National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006 legislation was changed to ensure that failed asylum seekers are entitled to the same health services as any other citizen of Wales. In 2009 the National Public Health Service has re-issued guidance on the healthcare issues for asylum seekers including details on: Entitlement to Service Barriers to healthcare Access to primary care Health Needs Assessment Secondary Care General Medical Services have issued Enhanced Service Specifications for GPs working with Asylum Seekers and Refugees (2009). New Service Specifications have been issued to all Sexual Assault Referral Centre s (SARCS) to ensure that access is based on clinical need (2010). The Welsh Government will: Undertake a review in 2012/13 of health services available to asylum seekers in dispersal areas to identify best practice and opportunities for service improvement and dissemination of information. Engage with Freedom from Torture (Medical Foundation for the care of victims of torture) to consider the needs of asylum seeker and refugee survivors of torture in Wales (2012/13). Work with the All Wales HIV+ network to have representation on the board with knowledge of refugees by November 2011, and to help the network identify the needs of asylum seekers and refugees (ongoing). Officials have met with Freedom from Torture (Medical Foundation for the care of victims of torture) to discuss how to meet the needs of survivors of torture in Wales (2010). 9

12 Priority 2 Action 3 Refugee Housing Organisation Lead Action Status To ensure that every refugee has access to immediate support and advice on housing once their application has been accepted. Welsh Government Housing Directorate What has happened? The All Wales Refugee Housing Action Plan ended in Since then the Welsh Government has chosen to mainstream refugee housing issues within the existing housing and equalities strategies and agendas to facilitate further progress. The Welsh Government currently fund the Refugee Well Housing Project run by the Welsh Refugee Council ( ). This provides all those who have been granted refugee status under legacy with move on assistance into housing and mainstream benefits. The UK Border Agency fund the Refugee Integration and Employment Service, to facilitate the integration of Refugees into Welsh society through advice on benefit entitlements, mentoring, employment and housing. The Welsh Government will continue to evaluate the Refugee Well Housing Project at the Welsh Refugee Council. While it is considered that the Refugee Well Housing Project will continue, this is dependant on ongoing evidence of project outcomes as per Welsh Government grant procedures and the UK budget settlements. The Refugee Integration and Employment Service will end when the contracts expire at the end of September The UK Border Authority has set up a working group to look at cost neutral solutions to help the integration of refugees after funding for the Service ends. The group has representation from voluntary sector refugee organisations and key government departments who play a role in the effective integration of refugees. The group has agreed to look at each stage of the refugee journey from receipt of the asylum decision to acquiring citizenship. The UK Border Agency is keen to ensure that the transition from asylum support to mainstream services works smoothly and is looking in detail at the process and how potentially it could be improved (2011). 10

13 Priority 2 Action 4 Refugee Employment and Volunteering Organisation Lead Action Status To work with a range of stakeholders in order to increase access to employment and volunteering opportunities for refugees, and broaden the range of volunteering experiences for asylum seekers. Welsh Government Department for Education and Skills What has happened The Welsh Government has established a Refugee Employment and Skills Steering Group comprising of key stakeholders including, Jobcentre Plus, Welsh Refugee Council, Wales Strategic Migration Partnership, Swansea University and Displaced People in Action. This has developed an action plan to ensure a more effective approach is taken to support the successful transition of refugees into employment or training. The Welsh Government commissioned research Refugees living in Wales: A survey of skills, experiences and barriers to inclusion (September 2009). The Group will review its three year Refugee Employment and Skills in Wales Action Plan (2011). The Group will support a PhD studentship to examine data sources on the skills and experiences of refugees (Ongoing commenced October 2010). The Group will develop a pilot NHS volunteer scheme, focusing on providing contextualised learning opportunities for refugees keen to enter the care sector. (Ongoing - commenced December 2010). The Welsh Government will ensure that all guidance on Education, Training and Employment includes reference to the Status and Entitlements of Asylum Seekers and Refugees. (Ongoing) 11

14 Priority 2 Action 5 Organisation Lead Action Status Promote training and awareness raising amongst organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers. Welsh Government Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Division What has happened The Inclusion Grant funds the following voluntary sector organisations who facilitate training and awareness raising amongst organisations working with Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Displaced People in Action, Supporting Others through Volunteer Action, The British Red Cross, Wales Strategic Migration Partnership and the Welsh Refugee Council. This has supported some awareness and training amongst organisations including: The Welsh Government will continue to fund organisations to facilitate training and awareness raising but this is dependant on ongoing evaluation and evidence of project outcomes. Annual training for Social Work Students Social Work placements in the Refugee Sector Child Protection / Trafficking Training to Local Safeguarding Children Boards 12

15 Priority 2 Action 6 Organisation Lead Action Status Promote awareness of the Credit and Qualification Framework for Wales (CQFW) amongst organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers. Welsh Government Department for Education and Skills What has happened The Welsh Government has, as part of its implementation strategy for the Credit and Qualification Framework for Wales (CQFW), produced communication materials for Young Learners, Adult Learners, Employers and Careers Advice and Guidance practitioners and has contracted with partner organisations to raise awareness. As part of our inclusion practice, we wish to work with the Welsh Refugee Council to raise awareness of CQFW amongst the organisations and advisers who work with and advise Refugee and Asylum Seekers in Wales. The Welsh Refugee Council project will work with various stakeholders such as Careers Wales through a series of seminars to raise awareness of how CQFW could enable refugees to gain qualifications without necessarily having to sit a course in its entirety (2011). The Welsh Refugee Council will also produce a leaflet for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in 8 languages that will provide information to refugees on the existence of CQFW and how they may be able to benefit from it (2011). 13

16 PRIORITY 3: BUILDING COMMUNITY AND EMPOWERING ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES TO LIVE ACTIVE AND FULFILLING LIVES Lead Responsibility: Department for Local Government and Communities Priority 3 Action 1 Organisation Lead Action Status To build strong and safe communities for all; and encourage asylum seeking and faith communities to report racist incidents to the police. Welsh Government Safer Wales All Wales Hate Crime Project Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Division What has happened? The Welsh Government launched Getting on Together a Community Cohesion Strategy for Wales with an accompanying Action Plan in The Community Cohesion Strategy is supported by a Community Cohesion Fund that has allocated 5m across Local Authorities in Wales during Community cohesion projects have provided equipment to support victims of hate crime, to provide research to build up an evidence base of incidents, and funded Hate Crime Officer posts to provide support to victims. An evaluation of the community cohesion programme by Sheffield Hallam University is in place and an interim report was produced in January An online resource for the reporting of hate crime will continue to be available to victims, witnesses and third parties. The All Wales Hate Crime Project will carry out a large scale survey and qualitative interviews with hate crime victims across Wales in It will also provide an evidence base for future actions (2012). Evaluation and monitoring procedures will be put in place to ascertain how many asylum seekers and refugees are currently accessing Communities First Programmes and whether there is evidence of good practice that could be translated across the 4 dispersal areas. 14

17 The Welsh Government is also working with Safer Wales which has developed an on-line resource to report hate crime incidents, by victims, witnesses or other third parties. The proposals for the next phase of Communities First will provide another opportunity to consider how refugees and asylum seekers are involved in the programme (2011). Communities First Programmes in the dispersal areas have offered a range of activities to increase the involvement of asylum seekers and refugees. Although annual monitoring reports do not specifically highlight the numbers of asylum seekers engaged in the programme, the intention is that where appropriate, asylum seekers are engaged in the work undertaken. Priority 3 Action 2 Organisation Lead Action Status To support the development of a strong, active and inclusive refugee community organisation in Wales; and enable refugee and asylum seeking communities to participate in key policy and service delivery decisions. Displaced People In Action (DPIA) DPIA What has happened? Displaced People in Action produced: A Needs Analysis of Refugee Community Organisations and Refugee Support Groups. A Capacity Building Officer at DPIA will facilitate Refugee Community Organisations development (2011). The Inclusion Grant supports work with refugee community organisations and support groups to help build their capacity. 15

18 Priority 3 Action 3 Organisation Lead Action Status To increase the ability of asylum seekers and refugees to participate in arts, sports and cultural and leisure activities. Displaced People in Action (DPIA), Welsh Refugee Council (WRC) DPIA, WRC What has happened? The Inclusion Grant and Children in Need have funded Displaced People In Action and the Welsh Refugee Council to promote arts, sports and cultural activities, examples include: Refugee Week Outreach Learning at St Fagan s and the National Waterfront Museum A Women s Community Choir The Welsh Government will fund the Welsh Refugee Council to deliver activities in Wales for Refugee Week. This is a UK wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK (2012). 16

19 Priority 3 Action 4 Organisation Lead Action Status To ensure that Higher and Further Education Institutions are fully aware of refugee and asylum seeker entitlements. To provide accessible information, advice and guidance as well as direct financial and other support to increase access to further and higher education by refugees and asylum seekers. Welsh Government, Department for Education and Skills Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) Department for Education and Skills What has happened Ongoing dissemination of the briefing and guidance. The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales has distributed a briefing on widening access to Higher Education for Refugees and Asylum Seekers to all Heads of Higher Education and Further Education directly funded colleges in Wales. The South West Wales Reaching Wider Partnership has produced a Guide to Further and Higher Education for Asylum Seekers and Refugees Living in Wales. 17

20 Priority 3 Action 5 Organisation Lead Action Status Support for Asylum Seeking and Refugee Children in School and the Wider Community. Welsh Government Department for Education and Skills What has happened? The annual Welsh Government Minority Ethnic Achievement Grant has been established to increase educational attainment amongst minority ethnic pupils, particularly those for whom English is an additional language. The grant which is shared between all 22 local authorities enables schools to employ specialist English as an Additional Language teachers and support assistants. Refugees and asylum seekers are eligible under the grant. Support for these learners will also be helped by Many Voices, One Wales a new DVD for schools on meeting the needs of pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds which was sent to every school in The DVD provides teachers with a range of effective strategies for promoting the attainment of learners from minority ethnic backgrounds (2011). A Conference for all School Counsellors across Wales was held where Gwent Ethnic Minority Services lead a session on working therapeutically with asylum seeker and refugee children. (Autumn 2010). The Welsh Government in partnership with Gwent Ethnic Minority Services will produce an insert on asylum seeking and refugee children for the Schools Counselling Toolkit which will be made available to all School Counsellors throughout Wales. The final draft of the Toolkit insert: Counselling Refugee and Asylum Seeking Children and Young People has been out to consultation with all local authorities, the Refugee Council, School-based Counsellors and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, as well as colleagues within the Welsh Government (2011). Feedback from the workshop at the All Wales Conference for School-based Counsellors, September 2010 will be incorporated into the School-based Counselling Toolkit Insert (2011). The then Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong learning and Skills agreed to amend the current eligibility criteria regarding the current 3 year ordinary residence requirement, to include. 18

21 those with European Union temporary protection status, limited leave to enter or remain in the UK (i.e. Humanitarian Protection or Discretionary Leave) and their family members. The Inclusion Grant provides funding for the You Are Not Alone Project managed by Supporting Others Through Volunteer Action. This project provides mentoring and support to asylum seeking children and young people who are dealing with feelings of isolation and offers a range of social and learning activities including English support, cooking, budgeting, and cultural awareness of UK life. Children in Need fund a Children and Young People s Worker at Displaced People in Action who runs English Classes for Children who are unable to access formal learning due to age disputes or late term arrival, and a Duke of Edinburgh Award in collaboration with The Parade. 19

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