Learnt a lot and felt inspired by the Asylum Support Appeals Conference today held at Amnesty offices in London.
A reflection and review of the political environment from the Red Cross and a speedy summery of the new AIRE contracts took us through the morning. Most questions were for Marcela about Migrant Help's new Home Office contract to do asylum support work and newly granted refugee move on help. Main change in the contract says they will see people face to face if there’s vulnerability, and they have a lot more resource on the phone line, and a new triage system for routing calls find out more here: https://www.migranthelpuk.org/new-asylum-services-update
The challenging delays break out group gave information on ASAP's pre-action letter PAP'ing project. We are looking forward to getting trained in that so that we can hold the government to account over delays in decisions on asylum support, section 17, NHS charges and other community care cases. https://baringfoundation.org.uk/blog-post/pre-action-letters-enabling-the-voluntary-sector-to-combat-the-lack-of-legal-aid-solicitors/
Over lunch I got to chat to some other Womens projects attendees, Priscilla from Women for Refugee Women, who is doing research into destitution with us and other refugee women's groups across the UK. Also connected to a Liverpools Refugee Women Connect advocate, a project we had recently heard about when a woman we support got IA in Liverpool. Then there was Zoe from Helen Bamber, whose name comes up on the ASAP ASAN network all the time - ASAP's informative / responsive email network for anyone who has a query or question on asylum support.
In the afternoon there was more talks, the front line advice project from Refugee Action, helping bring OISC knowledge to organisations https://www.refugee-action.org.uk/project/frontline-immigration-advice-project/ something else we are taking advantage of - we learn about the asylum guides, something we could easily share at our drop in 'Asylum Guides is a national programme aimed at organisations working with asylum seekers. Our toolkits enable volunteers to meet with clients and help them to navigate their asylum journey.' https://asylumguides.org
Then the section 17, children support legal whirlwind of information from Garden Court Chambers rep was fab, as was the schedule 10 workshop - I'm going to wait for the powerpoint to digest those - http://www.asaproject.org/uploads/2018-11-27_Absconders_and_withdrawn_asylum_claims.pdf was essential for understanding the schedule 10.
All in all a really productive and useful day. I have a lot to read and so much to learn.