MD2628 London Strategic Migration Partnership 2020/21

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Code: 
MD2628
Date signed: 
11 May 2020
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

The Home Office funds the Greater London Authority (GLA) to lead the London Strategic Migration Partnership (LSMP). The purpose of the LSMP is to provide strategic policy coordination on migration and, through working with partners, reduce barriers facing London's migrant and refugee communities’ access to services such as ESOL and advice/information. The LSMP work is informed and supported by the Mayor’s Migrant & Refugee Advisory Panel (MRAP), a consultative forum which has representation from a range of refugee and migrant organisations. There are similar strategic migration partnerships across all UK regions and countries.

Leading the LSMP enables the GLA to gather better intelligence on migration in London, improve coordination among strategic partners, influence immigration policy and take migration into account in delivering the Mayor’s responsibilities and priorities. In the coming months, LSMP and MRAP will play a critical role in ensuring that the response to the Covid-19 pandemic takes account of the needs of London’s most vulnerable migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

The grant of £154,000 from the Home Office for 2020/21 will cover the staff costs needed to support the LSMP and the delivery of its business plan (including support to the Migrant and Refugee Advisory Panel), develop London’s approach to supporting resettled refugees, and coordinate ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) for resettled refugees. The LSMP has played a core role on issues related to the rights of European Londoners post-Brexit, the Windrush generation, and undocumented survivors of Grenfell and their families.

The GLA has received grant funding for this work stream since 2008. The Mayor approved this work in 2019/20 under cover of MD2461. This work is a continuation of an existing Home Office grant agreement to cover staffing costs for the LSMP and refugee resettlement.

Decision

That the Mayor approves:

1. receipt of £154,000 of grant funding from the Home Office;

2. expenditure of:

a) the same to cover staff costs and meeting facilitation costs to support the London Strategic Migration Partnership and the delivery of its business plan, coordinate London’s response to the United Kingdom Resettlement Scheme, and coordinate English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) for Resettled Refugees for 2020/21; and

b) £30,000 from the GLA budget to match fund staffing costs for ESOL coordination.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Home Office funds the Greater London Authority (GLA) to lead the London Strategic Migration Partnership (LSMP). The Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement chairs the LSMP. The previous grant agreement was for £154,000 and covered the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020. Recent decision forms relating to this are: MD2461 and MD2336.

A new grant agreement will fund the GLA with £154,000 in 2020/21 to lead the LSMP, develop London’s approach to supporting resettled refugees, and coordinate ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) for resettled refugees. The funding for 2020/21 has been confirmed in writing by the Home Office (Appendix A).

The purpose of the LSMP is to provide a strategic leadership, advisory, coordination and development function for migration and integration in London. The LSMP brings together cross-sector partners to look at migration issues of strategic importance to London. Its remit includes data and demographics on migration and supporting integration. The work of the LSMP is informed by the Mayor’s Migrant and Refugee Advisory Panel (MRAP) which has a membership of organisations that support migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The LSMP will ensure its work supports the Mayor’s priorities and GLA policies and activities.

The GLA will also use the grant funding to work with local authorities and civil society to meet the needs of refugees, including those who have been resettled through the existing refugee resettlement schemes. The GLA will help mobilise commitment to refugee resettlement – especially community sponsorship – when the government launches its new United Kingdom Resettlement Scheme (UKRS).

In addition to this, the GLA will provide coordination support to ensure resettled refugees are able to access suitable ESOL provision.

The workplan of the LSMP has adapted to the impact of COVID-19 on Londoners, and will focus on improving the safety of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the current crisis including support for civil society organisations providing frontline support to the most vulnerable.

Approval is therefore being sought for:

• receipt of £154,000 of grant funding from the Home Office, and

• expenditure of the same to cover staffing costs and facilitate meetings and events as necessitated by the workplan, comprising:

 £64,000 ‘Enabling’ – a lead officer to coordinate the LSMP and to manage the delivery of its work plan detailed under section 2.1 below;
 £60,000 ‘Resettlement coordination’ – an officer to deliver the programme of work detailed under section 2.2 below;
 £30,000 ‘ESOL coordination’ (match-funded through the Social Integration Budget) – an officer to deliver the programme of work detailed under section 2.3 below; and

• expenditure of £30,000 from the Communities and Social Policy Unit’s social integration budget to match fund staffing costs for ESOL coordination - an officer to deliver the programme of work detailed under section 2.3 below. This will cover part of the staffing costs of an existing postholder whose role is jointly funded by the Home Office and the GLA. The £30k GLA match-funding is essential to safeguard the existing full-time ESOL within the Unit. This post is currently occupied by a secondee on a fixed-term basis until September (with a view to extend it to the end of financial year). A full-time post is necessary due to the volume of work on the existing programme.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The LSMP work plan for 2020/21 is adapting to the emergency response to COVID-19, and the partnership is leading work to ensure the safety of migrants, refugee and asylum seekers. This includes:

• equipping the migrant sector with the information and support necessary to adapt to changing circumstances;
• helping to coordinate London’s response to the needs of asylum seekers affected by COVID-19 and government measures to tackle the pandemic; and
• ensuring useful information flows between the Home Office, civil society and local government, and providing accountability for the public sector response.

When appropriate, the LSMP will take forward previously planned work for 2020/21:

• Managing the impact of the EU Referendum result on London: to mitigate barriers to vulnerable European Economic Area, Swiss, and third country nationals in London securing status in the UK, and to increase awareness of migrant rights and mitigate exploitation and discrimination. This includes delivery of GLA projects such as the Portal for European Londoners and a micro-grant scheme to support civil society outreach (approved separately under cover of DD2239, from the European Londoners budget);
• Informing the future Immigration system: monitoring the impact of the Government’s hostile environment policies and making recommendations to mitigate consequences. This includes work to ensure that undocumented survivors of Grenfell Tower and their families are able to access support and engage in the public inquiry, and work to ensure the rights of the Windrush generation are upheld;
• Integration and Communities: provide expertise on migrant integration and ESOL policy to inform the GLA’s wider approach to skills policy and responses to Government’s policy, including the delivery of the Social Integration Team’s ESOL Plus project, which aims to promote innovation in supporting learners to overcome barriers to accessing English language; and
• Asylum and Refugee Resettlement: convene the London Asylum Group (LAG) and help secure improvements to asylum support in London. Maintain an understanding of London’s approaches to supporting Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) and ensure boroughs have the resources and support to sustainably support UASC.

London coordination for the resettlement of refugees will include:

• further developing a sustainable community sponsorship and regional co-ordination model with buy-in from interested boroughs and other key London stakeholders including communities and civil society, businesses and employers, funders and philanthropists which aspires to work with and support as many community sponsors as possible within the capital;
• continuing to convene a network of borough officers leading on resettlement which will meet on a quarterly basis, with a particular focus on supporting them to meet the challenges posed by Covid 19; and
• identifying issues and challenges on resettlement shared across local authorities in London, and ensuring information and solutions are shared across the region and used to inform resettlement.

The Home Office have also agreed to fund a London coordinator to take forward work related to the provision of suitable ESOL for resettled refugees. This post will be employed by the GLA with a work programme including:

• delivering programme support on ESOL provision in London to increase the region’s effectiveness in providing access to language support for all Londoners, including but not limited to individuals resettled under the United Kingdom Resettlement Scheme (UKRS). This will have a particular focus on ensuring ESOL learners are able to digitally engage with ESOL learning during the current period;
• developing new approaches to strategic planning, commissioning and coordination of ESOL provision for resettled refugees, at city-wide, sub-regional and borough levels, including by advising GLA colleagues implementing the devolution of London’s Adult Education Budget; and
• leading the work of the GLA’s ESOL Plus programmes, including liaison with employers and the ESOL sector, and learning from pilots.

Across all these stands there will be a focus on coordinating London’s response to COVID-19 in the coming months to ensure that the impacts on vulnerable migrants in particular are taken into account:

• MRAP will enable the GLA to engage with civil society and ensure new initiatives are sensitive the needs to migrants;
• LSMP meetings will provide the opportunity to ensure better coordination between the public sector and civil society, influence government policy, and provide accountability for the public sector response; and
• LAG will facilitate intelligence sharing to enable better service planning and mitigation, and facilitate cross-sectoral working in the provision of support for asylum seekers and refugees.

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the GLA must have ‘due regard’ of the need to:

• eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; and
• advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

Equality, integration and inclusion are the drivers behind this programme of work. Tackling disadvantage and discrimination is a central part of this. The LSMP aims to increase awareness of migrant rights and mitigate exploitation and discrimination. The ESOL programme of work is specifically designed to overcome the additional barriers that some groups face to social integration, in this case English language proficiency.

The LSMP and MRAP ensure that the voices of migrants and refugees are included in the delivery of the Mayor’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy as well as the Mayor’s Social Integration Strategy. The workplan will support a number of objectives from the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy including ensuring that London is a great place to live, work and do business. To achieve this the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Group will develop a link to the Migrant and Refugee Advisory Panel.

The lead officer coordinating the LSMP and MRAP will ensure that a diversity of voices are included in the Partnership. This is embedded in the terms of reference for MRAP which states that the board should ‘represent the diversity of London’s migrant and refugee communities, and the issues that affect them’ and membership will be kept under review for this purpose.

Other considerations

a) key risks and issues

 

Risk

Mitigation measures

Current probability (1-4)

Current impact

(1-4)

RAG

LSMP discussions do not translate into development of deliverable actions

  • Accurate note taken of each meeting with actions noted, including clear ownership and deadlines
  • Workplan development focused on outcomes and project owners
  • Ensure right membership round the table to make decisions and take actions forward

2

2

Green

COVID-19 related measures hinders effectiveness of LSMP, MRAP and LAG by prohibiting face-to-face meetings

  • Virtual meetings set up to enable these meetings to happen remotely
  • Consult with members on best way to deliver these meetings in advance

2

2

Green

Building meaningful links with boroughs and other regional mechanisms on issues related to refugee and asylum

  • Pre-meet with London Councils, ALDCS, Asylum Seekers Consortium and Housing Director representatives to plan future involvement at the LSMP and build a relationship that adds regional capacity
  • Continue to develop membership of LSMP, MRAP LAG as necessary 

2

2

Green

Concerns of local councils involved in resettlement not conveyed to policy decision-makers

  • Resettlement and ESOL lead to meet regularly with local council lead officers, and develop strong networks and relationships with local government
  • Resettlement and ESOL leads to attend LSMP and MRAP to ensure local authority feedback is voiced and recognised.

2

2

Green

 

b) links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

 

Social Integration – core to the Mayor’s Strategy ‘All of Us’, in particular to deliver the Mayor’s commitment to support migrants and refugees by challenging barriers to integration.

 

Skills – ESOL is a core part of the Skills Strategy and City Hall has committed to support the development of innovative approaches to strategic planning and commissioning of ESOL including the use of community based and volunteer support, to improve local coordination of ESOL provision, and to address practical barriers to ESOL learning. The Skills Team have been closely involved in developing the ESOL coordinator role and the post-holder will work closely with the skills team.

 

Work of Team London – The Resettlement Coordinator has promoted new opportunities for volunteering and social action through the Team London website. Team London have been closely involved in developing the ESOL coordinator role so that the approach to voluntary ESOL makes use of the expertise and platform Team London provides.

 

c) impact assessments and consultations

 

The LSMP is a partnership board and all members are consulted in drafting the workplan. Representatives include Home Office, London Councils, Association of London Directors of Children Services, London Housing Directors, four lead representatives from MRAP and business representatives. The workplan has also been developed in consultation with GLA Skills, Housing, MOPAC, and EBPU in reference to specific areas of crossover.

 

The ESOL coordination work has been developed on the back of ESOL mapping undertaken in 2016 which engaged with ESOL providers in London. This report detailed the complementary role of voluntary ESOL provision which can meet gaps in formal ESOL provision to offer greater flexibility and broader social integration outcomes.

Financial comments

Approval is being sought for receipt and expenditure of £154,000 in grant funding for the activities associated with the London Strategic Migration Partnership for 2020/21. The grant funding will be provided by the Home Office.

Approval is also being sought for expenditure of £30,000 worth of GLA match funding for the staffing costs of the ESOL project coordinator post. This expenditure will be funded by the 2020/21 ESOL Plus programme budget under the Social Integration workstream.

All income and expenditure will be contained and managed by the Communities and Social Policy Unit within the Communities and Skills directorate in financial year 2020/21.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

LSMP Workplan Approved by LSMP

July 2020

Delivery Start Date

Ongoing work

Delivery End Date

Ongoing work


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