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1.5.5 Families with No Recourse to Public Funding

RELEVANT CHAPTER

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Procedure

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

No Recourse to Public Funds Network Practice Guidance

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in January 2016 to reflect provisions of the Care Act 2014. Information on the Independent Family Returns Panel was added into the end of Section 2, Procedures for Working with Families with No Recourse to Public Funds.


Contents

  1. Immigration Issues and the Role of the Local Authority
  2. Procedures for Working with Families with No Recourse to Public Funds

    Appendix A: Documentation Checklist for the Assessment of People with No Recourse to Public Funds


1. Immigration Issues and the Role of the Local Authority

Who are Families with No Recourse to Public Funds?

People who have no legal entitlement to financial support or assistance from the state are known as people who have no recourse to public funds. They may self-refer to Kirklees Council for support or be referred from other agencies within and external to Kirklees.

The council  is likely to be approached by families with children, or, children or young people who are unaccompanied or Separated* from their families.

*Separated Children are children who are accompanied or unaccompanied outside their country of origin and separated from their Parents or their legal or customary care giver.

These families may be (this list is by no means exhaustive and is only an example of the categories of people who present to social services as destitute and have no recourse to public funds.): 

  1. People with refugee status from another European Economic Area (EEA) country other than the UK, or, are dependent's of people in the UK who have refugee status from a EEA country other than the UK;
  2. People who are citizens of an EEA country other than the UK, or, are dependent of people who are citizens of an EEA country other than the UK;
  3. Failed asylum seekers who have exhausted their appeal rights and who have failed to co-operate with removal directions;
  4. Persons who are unlawfully present in the UK who are not asylum-seekers. For example, people who have overstayed their leave to remain, people who have been trafficked into the country, people who entered the country illegally;
  5. People who have been granted limited leave to remain on the condition that they have no recourse to public funds. For example, people who are spouses and unmarried partners of persons with British citizenship or indefinite leave to remain, who have been granted a two year probationary period on condition of no recourse to public funds;
  6. People who have been granted discretionary leave to remain, for example, 'separated' children or young people from non-suspensive appeal countries whom the Home Office does not grant either refugee status or humanitarian protection, and are given 12 months leave to remain or until their 18th birthday, whichever is shorter;
  7. People on student visas who are unable to work and have no recourse to public funds.

Role of the Local Authority

Kirklees Council is restricted by legislation in what it can provide in terms of assistance and support for all the categories of people outlined in the previous section.

Under Section 54 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, families who fall under categories a. to d. are not eligible for support from social services under Sections 17, 23C, 24A or 24B of the Children Act 1989. They are also not eligible for adult social care support under the Care Act 2014 or accommodation under homelessness legislation.

The Home Office allows for limited forms of assistance to be given by local authorities to some families and this could be in the form of:

  • Travel assistance to people with dependent's under 18 years  to leave the UK;
  • Temporary accommodation to people with dependent's under 18 years awaiting the implementation of their travel arrangements;
  • Temporary accommodation to people in category d. with dependent's under 18 who are awaiting instructions for removal.

However, Kirklees Safeguarding and Protection Service still has the following duties toward all children, young people and families regardless of their status:

  • Under the Children Act 1989, to carry out a Child in Need Assessment for all children under 18 years old who are in families, where there may be concerns about a child/children's welfare and/or safety;
  • To carry out a Child in Need Assessment for all 'separated' children under the age of 18 and to provide them with services in line with needs identified using Section 17 and Section 20 of the Children Act 1989;
  • To carry out an assessment of an adult for community care services under the Care Act 2014 where the adult’s need for such services have not arisen solely due to destitution and/or to avoid a breach of the adult’s human rights which would otherwise occur if no services were provided.

Asylum Seekers and the UK Visas and Immigration Support

All asylum seeking applicants newly arrived in the UK are managed by the UK Visas and Immigration Support (formerly known as the UK Border Agency) set up by the Home Office.

Failed Asylum Seekers and Section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004

Failed asylum seekers who are facing destitution can be signposted to UK Visas and Immigration for support under S4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

If the client is a failed asylum seeker with an application for humanitarian protection still pending a decision, the duty officer should signpost them to UK Visas and Immigration Support as the application should be treated in the same manner as an asylum application and UK Visas and Immigration Support may have a responsibility to support.


2. Procedures for Working with Families with No Recourse to Public Funds

Introduction

This guidance should be read together with the "Families with no recourse to public funds"  flowchart and Appendices A and B.

This guidance is for Social Workers working with families with no recourse to public funds.  'Families' referred to in this guidance is defined as 'families presenting with their own children'. 

For people presenting with children for whom they say they are the primary care givers or relations or friends, Social Workers should be aware that these children are essentially 'separated' children, i.e. children who are outside their country of origin without the care and protection of their Parents or legal guardian. Social Workers should work with these children with a view to ensuring  their safety and welfare. The following procedures will guide this work:

West Yorkshire Consortium Procedures Manual

Private Fostering Procedure

What is Involved when Deciding to Assess?

Families with no recourse to public funds usually present in different ways:

  • Self-referral without an appointment;
  • Self-referral or referral by an external agency, by appointment.

Social Workers need to consider if there is a possibility or evidence to suggest that there are child in need concerns or the potential for child in need concerns. This may include health needs affecting the Parent/s or children, for example, chronic health conditions, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, or child protection issues, e.g. neglect, domestic violence.

If there is a strong possibility of such needs as outlined above, the Referral and Response Service should commence an assessment within statutory timescales. Social Workers should note that Kirklees may have a duty of care even if the person has local connections in another area.

When interviewing the client, Social Workers should explore as fully as possible, existing sources of help and support in the community, voluntary groups, social networks etc.

Because of the 'no recourse' status of the applicant, Social Workers will also have to check the following alongside the Child in Need assessment:

  1. Key documents;
  2. Local Connection;
  3. Immigration status;
  4. Destitution.

Use the assessment form which will ask clients for information on local connection, immigration status and destitution. This form should be completed as fully as possible with the client.

1.

Key Documents

  a. The applicant  must have sufficient identification although this may not be possible if, for example, the person is fleeing domestic violence. In such cases evidence should be established at a later date via the assistance of a solicitor or the police.
  b. If potential clients do not bring the necessary documentation on first presentation, the assessment can still go ahead but inform them that any decisions regarding provision of support can only be made when they have provided the appropriate documents, and they should have all the required documents before another interview is arranged.
  c. If the client needs an interpreter, arrangements should be made with the interpreter to inform the client of the documentation required. The documentation checklist in Appendix B can be used for such purposes.
  d.

Applicants should be asked to verify their identity and immigration status with the production of the following forms of identification:

  • Passports and birth certificates for all members of the family;
  • If available, travel documents like return air tickets;
  • Home Officer papers (Application Registration Card (ARC), application letters or refusal letters) and solicitors' letters; and
  • If available, bank account statements (most recent 3 months).
  e. All identification documents supplied must be original documents.
  f. If the applicant or any dependent's have health needs, they must provide any documented evidence of ill health or disability for any member of the family, e.g. OT reports, mental health/psychiatric reports.

2.

Local Connection

  a. It is important to establish where the person has a local connection as it may be another local authority, not Kirklees, which has responsibility for this person.
  b. Local connection criteria need not always apply. For example, if the person is at risk of violence if they return to the local authority where they have a local connection. Similarly, if there is evidence to suggest that there is a health or child care concern, Kirklees may have a duty of care even if the client has a local connection in another local authority.
  c. It should be stressed to all clients that  Social Workers will follow up on the contact details given by clients to make enquiries into local connection.
  d. If it is established that the person has a local connection with another local authority but not Kirklees, Social Workers should refer the person to that local authority.

3.

Immigration Status of the Client

  a. Kirklees Safeguarding & Protection Services will have nominated Social Workers and administrative assistant placed on the Home Office LA COMMS list. This mean that the nominated persons will be able to ring Home Office to check if the client has a 'live' asylum application, been refused asylum, or has some other application pending.
  b. Social Workers should have the documentation outlined in Key Documentation to establish the status and identity of the applicant and his/her dependent's and this should be cross-referenced with the Home Office as fully as possible.
  c. Social Workers need to tell overstayers they have a duty to inform the Home Office as they have approached the local authority for assistance.

4.

Destitution

  a. It is important to build up a clear picture of the client's circumstances and Social Workers need to assess if the client is indeed destitute, i.e. he/she has no means of supporting him/herself nor family or friends whom he/she can rely on for support.
  b. Social Workers must consider if the information given by the client both verbally and in documented form is credible. If they do not think it is credible, they must be confident that there is enough evidence to the contrary (taking care to record this in the client's case file) otherwise we will be open to legal challenge.

Completion of Assessment

When an assessment is completed, the Social Worker should discuss the outcome of the assessment with their Team Manager.

The Team Manager will present the case to the unit manager.

If the client is in need of urgent/immediate support, the Social Worker should seek legal advice and discuss the case with the Duty Manager. Authorisation must be sought by the Duty Manager from the Unit Manager before any provision of immediate support.

The Unit Manager is likely to respond in the following manner:
  • Yes - Accept client's application for support or agreeing to continue support;
  • No - reject client's application for support or terminating existing support;
  • Decision deferred pending the presentation of documents or further evidence.

Terminating Support

The decision to terminate support for an ongoing case should be made by the Unit Manager. This needs to be informed with an up-to-date CIN assessment.

The Social Worker will need to inform the client if their support is to be terminated. This should be done in an interview, with the use of an interpreter if necessary.

The Social Worker should liaise with the administrative assistant to have a letter issued to the client the 28 day notice period from when support will terminate and to advise that the client has the right to seek legal advice if they disagree with the decision. This letter should be translated into the client’s first language as appropriate. 

Arranging and Administering Support

The Kirklees No Recourse to Public Funds Team will make the arrangement and administration of support to families with no recourse to public funds. This will include arranging for subsistence and accommodation search.

Social Workers will need to ensure that any assessment authorising support for the family and outlining the needs of the family covers:

  • If the family needs an interpreter;
  • Special accommodation needs;
  • Health needs;
  • Length of support;
  • The legislation under which the family is being supported, e.g. Section 17 of the Children Act.

Provision of Accommodation

For families with no recourse to public funds who require accommodation the following steps should be taken:

  1. The client and worker should identify the specific needs of the family taking into account location, type of property required;
  2. The worker should identify appropriate properties using the Kirklees Council’s approved list of registered landlords;
  3. The worker and client should view suitable properties and identify a suitable property taking into account the needs of the family and the location;
  4. Accommodation must be fully furnished;
  5. The worker will negotiate with the landlord the payment of the bond, rent and acquire the relevant information to make payment;
  6. The worker will obtain copies of documents indicating that all safety checks have been completed in relation to the property;
  7. The tenancy agreement will only be in the client’s name as this will facilitate future claims for benefits if leave to remain is granted;
  8. Kirklees Council will ensure that the landlord is paid rent on a monthly basis directly to his/her bank account and that Council tax is also paid;
  9. Worker will ensure that prior to and after the family move into the tenancy everything is in place;
  10. If the family is granted leave to remain at a future date the worker will meet with the landlord and client to clarify payment of rent, council tax and tenancy agreement. This will be confirmed in writing to the landlord and the tenant;
  11. The landlord and family has a duty to notify the Local authority that they are in receipt of benefits/housing benefit and any over payment of rent to the landlord will be reclaimed by the Local Authority.

Independent Family Returns Panel

Under s. 54A Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 (inserted by s.3 Immigration Act 2014), the Secretary of State must consult the Independent Family Returns Panel in each family returns case, on how best to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children of the family, and in each case where the Secretary of State proposes to detain a family in pre-departure accommodation, on the suitability of so doing, having particular regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children of the family.

A family returns case is a case where a child who is living in the United Kingdom is to be removed from or required to leave the United Kingdom, together with their parent/carer. 

Pre-departure accommodation is a secure facility designed to be used as a last resort where families fail to co-operate with other options to leave the UK, such as the offer of assisted voluntary return.

The Panel may request information in order that any return plan for a particular family has taken into account any information held by other agencies that relates to safeguarding, welfare or child protection. In particular a social worker or manager from Children’s Social Work Services may be invited to contribute to the Panel.


Appendix A: Documentation Checklist for the Assessment of People with No Recourse to Public Funds

DOCUMENTATION CHECKLIST FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF PEOPLE WITH NO RECOURSE TO PUBLIC FUNDS

All identification documents supplied must be original documents.

Social Workers should:

  • View the original documents;
  • Take photocopies; and
  • File them in the client's folder.

If the applicant or any dependent's have health needs, they must provide any documented evidence of ill health or disability for any member of the family, e.g. OT reports, mental health/psychiatric reports.

Checklist:

  • Passports and birth certificates for all members of the family;
  • Home Officer papers (application letters, refusal letters, Application Registration Card (ARC)) and solicitors' letters;
  • Any official letters, utility bills, tenancy agreements which will proof address;
  • If available, travel documents like return air tickets;
  • If available, medical reports; and
  • If available, bank account statements (most recent 3 months).

End