MUI's Dr Jonathan Darling provides evidence in asylum accommodation inquiry

12 September 2016

Dr Jonathan Darling, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography working within the Manchester Urban Institute (MUI), has submitted vital evidence on asylum accommodation and service provision to the Home Affairs Committee scrutinising the matter.

Dr Darling's written evidence was submitted following a three-year project, backed by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which investigated asylum accommodation and service provision in Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Sunderland.

The study concluded that:

  • successful dispersal requires clear and effective communication between local authorities, the Home Office and support organisations;
  • breakdowns in communication and a reduction in staff experienced in working with asylum seekers, has undermined local authority confidence in dispersal;
  • strategic Migration Partnerships have played a key role in communication between stakeholders, but these are over-stretched and need further support;
  • outsourcing through COMPASS has made identifying responsibility for specific properties and for addressing issues with properties difficult;
  • shifts in dispersal patterns have affected third-sector organisations who have to respond to a fluctuating client base;
  • community preparation work and communication with residents in dispersal areas has fragmented and the absence of such work has fostered resentment towards asylum seekers.

Based on these findings, Dr Darling recommended that the government should:

  • broaden the scope of dispersal and reduce regional disparities;
  • coordinate existing and new dispersals with third-sector service provision and expertise;
  • enhance the role of local authorities and devolved authorities in providing oversight;/li>
  • provide sustainable and long-term support for Strategic Migration Partnerships;
  • reintroduce community preparation work for existing and new dispersal locations;
  • ensure that COMPASS providers offer opportunities for collective feedback from asylum seekers;
  • commit to a regular review of dispersal policies and practice.

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