Agenda item

Full Asylum Dispersal Model

Decision:

RESOLVED

 

KEY DECISION       

 

That the Executive:

 

a.    Noted the government’s adoption of the Full Asylum Dispersal Strategy and the rationale for it.

 

b.    Noted the East Midlands model and approach for delivering the strategy in the region.

 

c.    Noted the role of North Northamptonshire Council in delivering the strategy in the Council area; and the approach Council Officers are taking to work with SERCO, the contract holder for Asylum Accommodation and Support Services across the North West, Midlands and East of England regions, on contingency accommodation (hotels) and property acquisitions (leases) in the private rented sector.

 

d.    Delegated authority to the Executive Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing, in consultation with the Executive Director for Adults, Communities and Wellbeing, to take any further decisions and/or actions required, including use of the funding, to support the dispersal and settlement, temporary or otherwise, of asylum seekers in North Northamptonshire. 

 

 

Reasons for Recommendation: To ensure that the Council fulfils its obligations under the national Full Asylum Dispersal Strategy and works with SERCO and other partners to effectively support asylum seekers to integrate into local communities.

 

Alternative Options considered: There is no alternative as this is a national policy, although the Council has worked closely with the Regional Migration Partnership in developing the model for the region. If the Council did not fully engage with SERCO over the selection of contingency hotels and dispersal properties then there is a risk, as the decisions will stand regardless, of negative impacts on community cohesion, local service provision and successful integration of asylum seekers into local communities.

 

Minutes:

In the absence of Cllr Helen Harrison, Executive Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing, the Chair invited Cllr Matthew Binley, Executive Member for Housing, Communities and Levelling Up to introduce a report that sought to brief the Executive on the Government approach to Full Asylum Dispersal, on the recent consultation undertaken, the emerging regional model and on the Property Procurement (contingency hotel and private sector lease) arrangements being delivered in the Council area by SERCO.

 

Cllr Binley reported that in May 2022 the Government had announced a shift from an opt-in model for asylum dispersal to a Full Asylum Dispersal model where asylum seekers would be placed across all local authority areas due to the increase in the number of asylum seekers entering the country.

 

Although the Council had a limited direct role in asylum dispersal as the work was delivered by Government contractors, it was a key partner in a local multi-agency forum that would receive demographic data on how the dispersal model was operating and consider any impact on local communities and service delivery.

 

It was heard that the Government was providing funding of £3,500 per person for 2022-23 to councils for every asylum seeker accommodated in the council

area to support them to fully integrate into communities. For North Northamptonshire Council the allocation would be 289 asylum seekers in dispersed accommodation by December 2023, subject to final review. To date the Council had been notified of five properties being progressed by SERCO for asylum dispersal.

 

Challenges faced by the Council relating to service pressures and recruitment of resettlement staff were outlined to the meeting.

 

 

RESOLVED

 

KEY DECISION       

 

That the Executive:

 

a.    Noted the government’s adoption of the Full Asylum Dispersal Strategy and the rationale for it.

 

b.    Noted the East Midlands model and approach for delivering the strategy in the region.

 

c.    Noted the role of North Northamptonshire Council in delivering the strategy in the Council area; and the approach Council Officers are taking to work with SERCO, the contract holder for Asylum Accommodation and Support Services across the North West, Midlands and East of England regions, on contingency accommodation (hotels) and property acquisitions (leases) in the private rented sector.

 

d.    Delegated authority to the Executive Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing, in consultation with the Executive Director for Adults, Communities and Wellbeing, to take any further decisions and/or actions required, including use of the funding, to support the dispersal and settlement, temporary or otherwise, of asylum seekers in North Northamptonshire. 

 

 

Reasons for Recommendation: To ensure that the Council fulfils its obligations under the national Full Asylum Dispersal Strategy and works with SERCO and other partners to effectively support asylum seekers to integrate into local communities.

 

Alternative Options considered: There is no alternative as this is a national policy, although the Council has worked closely with the Regional Migration Partnership in developing the model for the region. If the Council did not fully engage with SERCO over the selection of contingency hotels and dispersal properties then there is a risk, as the decisions will stand regardless, of negative impacts on community cohesion, local service provision and successful integration of asylum seekers into local communities.

 

Supporting documents: