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Derby CityChildren's Social Care Procedures

2.6 Families with No Recourse to Public Funds

RELEVANT CHAPTER

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Procedure

USEFUL GUIDANCE

No Recourse to Public Funds Network Guidance

Securing British Citizenship for Looked After Children – Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens

AMENDMENT

In March 2018, a link was added to information from the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens in relation to the responsibilities of local authorities to ensure that children in their care have effective access to specialist legal advice so their citizenship or any entitlement to citizenship is secured. See Useful Guidance (above) for full details.

Contents

  1. Immigration Issues and the Role of the Local Authority
  2. Procedures for Working with Families with no Recourse to Public Funds
  3. Appendix A: Documentation Checklist for the Assessment of People with no Recourse to Public Funds
  4. Appendix B: Families with No Recourse to Public Funds: Agreement with Derby City Council Children and Young People's Department
  5. Appendix C: Guidance on Supporting Families 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 described as people with No Recourse to Public Funds. They may self-refer to Derby Children's & Young People's Department for support or be referred from other agencies within and external to Derby.

The Children & Young People's Department is likely to be approached by families with children, or, children or young people who are unaccompanied or separated from their parents or their legal or customary care giver.

These families may be:

  1. People who have been with refugee status by /  from another European Economic Area (EEA) country other than the UK or are dependents 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 the dependents of people who are citizens of an EEA country other than the UK;
  3. Failed asylum seekers who have exhausted their appeal rights including those who may 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/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.

(This list is by no means exhaustive and provides examples of the categories of people who may present to Social Care Services as destitute and have No Recourse to Public Funds).

Role of the Local Authority

Derby City 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 the local authority 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 leave the UK to people with dependents under 18 years;
  • Temporary accommodation to people with dependents under 18 years awaiting the implementation of their travel arrangements;
  • Temporary accommodation to people in category d. with dependents under 18 who are awaiting instructions for removal.

However, Derby City Council still has the following duties towards all children, young people and families regardless of their status:

  • Under Section 17 of 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 supported and accommodated under arrangements managed by the UK Visas and Immigration Service (UKVI). Under this system, local authorities are still expected to provide community care support to asylum seekers, (in accordance with the Care Act 2014) where they are in need of care and attention over and above their destitution under the Care Act 2014.

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 Service User 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 as the application should be treated in the same manner as an asylum application and UK Visas and Immigration may have a responsibility to support.

Under Section 9, failed asylum seekers with families whose asylum appeal rights are exhausted, and are judged by UK Visas and Immigration not to be co-operating with voluntary return can have their support withdrawn. However, it allows for children under 18 to be supported under s20 of the Children Act 1989 if their welfare is compromised this may mean taking a child into care.

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

This guidance is for early help and social care workers who are working with families who have No Recourse to Public Funds. 'Families' referred to in this guidance are 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, but with no evidence of parental responsibility or parental agreement, Early Help and Social Care Workers should be aware that these children are essentially Separated Children, that is, children who are outside their country of origin without the care and protection of their parents or legal guardian. These children should be referred in to Social Care and  Social Workers should work with these children with a view to ensuring their safety and welfare, including an assessment of whether these may be abandoned or trafficked children, and legal advice should be sought.

What is Involved when Deciding to Assess?

Families who have No Recourse to Public Funds usually present to the department by:

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

Process

Early Help and Social Care Workers must satisfy themselves that the family are destitute, without means of support and also must consider any safeguarding concerns.

The family should be signposted to the appropriate departments/services where applicable:

  • Unaccompanied asylum seekers aged over l6 years to Leaving Care team following an assessment (See Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Procedure);
  • Unaccompanied asylum seekers under l6 years to be accommodated and transferred to Children in Care (CIC) Team;
  • Asylum seekers to UKVI for NASS Support;
  • Failed asylum seekers to make application for Section 4 support (support them to do this);
  • Illegal immigrants and overstayers to the UK Visas and Immigration;
  • EU Nationals who have worked for 1 year+ and are now not in employment must seek support from the Benefits Agency;
  • EU Nationals who have not gained work should be supported to return home;
  • Domestic Violence concessions to seek legal advice;
  • Those with health needs should be referred to health agencies.

Interim financial arrangements will be necessary in most cases if families are destitute. Initial arrangements should be agreed to not exceed 7 days and must emphasise what is expected of the Service User.

During the initial 7 days families must produce evidence that they have taken positive steps to secure their financial status or Leave to Remain status in the country i.e. letters from Benefits Agency, solicitor or Home Office.

Any person unable to provide the evidence required should not be offered on-going financial support instead they should be offered support to return home.

Any person receiving financial support will be required to sign an agreement with the department. Early Help and Social Care Workers need to consider if there is a possibility or evidence to suggest that there are additional 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 safeguarding children issues, for example - : neglect, domestic violence.

If there is a strong possibility of Safeguarding or Child Protection issues arising, the Reception Service should start an assessment within statutory timescales. Social workers should note that Derby may have a duty of care even if the person has local connections in another area. 

Children of families who present as No Recourse To Public Funds are likely to be identified as Children in Need of a service as their family are unable to meet their basic support needs due to a lack of legitimate income; In this situation a Single Assessment should be completed by a Social Work Team and the case held at a Child In Need level. NRPF team, based within Locality 3&4 will support the allocated Social Worker, as an involvement on the case rather than Lead Professional.

When interviewing the Service User, Social Care Workers should explore as fully as possible, existing sources of help and support in the community, voluntary groups, and social networks and so on.

Because of the 'No Recourse to Public Funds' status of the Applicant, social care 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.

1.

Key Documents

 

a.

The Applicant should provide sufficient identification although this may not be possible if, for example, the person is fleeing domestic violence and abuse. In such cases evidence should be established at a later date via the assistance of a solicitor or the police;

 

b

If a potential Service User does not bring the necessary documentation on first presentation, the assessment can still go ahead but they should be informed that any decisions regarding provision of support can only be made when they have provided the appropriate documents, and they should have all these before another interview is arranged;

 

c.

If the Service User needs an interpreter, arrangements should be made with the interpreter to inform the person concerned of the documentation required.

 

d.

Applicants should be asked to verify their identity and immigration status by producing the following forms of identification set out in Appendix A: Documentation Checklist for the Assessment of People with no Recourse to Public Funds:

Passports and birth certificates for all members of the family;

  • Evidence that steps have been taken to secure their stay for example: Home Office papers (Application Registration Card (ARC), application letters or refusal letters) and solicitors' letters;
  • If available, bank account statements (most recent 3 months);
  • EEA Nationals need to provide a Work permit or registration to work;
  • National Insurance number;

Other information that should be requested may include:

  • Date of arrival in the UK;
  • Means of travel and how it was financed;
  • How their stay has been funded to date;
  • If they have family or friends in other parts of the UK;
  • Address in country of origin, or last address;
  • Details of  family and friends in their own country;
  • Reasons for leaving;
  • Evidence of domestic violence for those seeking support under the Domestic Violence Concession.

Ideally all identification documents supplied must be original documents. If this is not possible,  a certified or best copy available should be provided.

 

e.

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, for example:. OT reports, mental health/psychiatric reports. 

2.

Local Connection

 

a.

It is important to establish where the Applicant has a local connection as it may be another local authority, not Derby, which has responsibility for this person;

 

b.

Local connection criteria need not always apply, for example, if the Applicant 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, Derby may have a duty of care even if the Applicant has a local connection in another local authority;

 

c.

It should be stressed Social Workers will follow up on the contact details given by those seeking a service to make enquiries to verify the local connection;

 

d.

If it is established that the Applicant has a local connection with another local authority, but not Derby, Social Workers should refer the person to that local authority.

3.

Immigration Status of the Client

 

a.

Derby City Council has nominated Early Help and Social Care Workers and Administrative Assistants placed on the Home Office LA COMMS list. This mean that the nominated persons are able to ring the Home Office in order to check if the Service User has a 'live' Asylum Application, been refused asylum, or has some other application pending;

 

b.

Early Help and Social Care Workers should have the documentation outlined in Key Documents to establish the status and identity of the Applicant and his/her dependents and this should be cross-referenced with the Home Office as fully as possible;

 

c.

Early Help and Social Care Workers should inform over-stayers that as they have approached the local authority for assistance, the local authority has they have a duty to inform the Home Office.

4.

Destitution

 

a.

It is important to build up a clear picture of the family's circumstances and Social Workers need to assess if the Applicant is indeed destitute; that is he/she has no means of supporting him/herself nor family or friends on whom he/she can rely on for support;

 

b.

Social Workers must consider if the information given 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 case the local authority decision is open to legal challenge.

Completion of Assessment

When the assessment is completed, the Early Help and Social Care Worker should discuss the outcome of the assessment with their line manager.

The manager will then decide if the Applicant is in need of support.

The manager is likely to respond in the following manner:

  • Yes - accept Service User's application for support;
  • No - reject Service User's application for support or terminate existing support;
  • Decision deferred pending the presentation of documents or further evidence within a reasonable timescale;
  • The outcome of the assessment should be communicated to the Service User in a format that they can understand, with consideration being given to the use of interpreters if required.

Terminating Support

The decision to terminate support for an on-going case should be made by the Deputy Head of Service or Head of Service. This needs to be informed with an up-to-date single assessment.

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

The Social Care Worker should  issue to the Service User a letter giving 28 days' notice period of when support will terminate and advising the Service User of their right to seek legal advice if they disagree with the decision. This letter should be translated into the person's first language as appropriate.

Arranging and Administering Support

The Derby No Recourse to Public Funds Team (NRTPF) will arrange and administer support to families with No Recourse to Public Funds. This will include arranging for subsistence and an accommodation search.

Social care workers will need to ensure the assessment authorising support for the family and outlining their needs covers the following:

  • If the family needs an interpreter;
  • Special accommodation needs;
  • Health needs;
  • Length of proposed support;
  • Length of support;
  • Information sharing with UKVI;
  • Where a family have leave to remain with an NRPF restriction NRPF team will advocate proactively on their behalf to have this restriction lifted;
  • NRPF team will keep up to date with policy changes at local, national and European level by maintaining links with the East Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership (or similar).

Provision of Accommodation

For families with No Recourse to Public Funds who require accommodation the following steps should be taken:

  1. The Service User and worker should identify the specific needs of the family taking into account location, type of property required;
  2. The Social Care Worker should identify appropriate properties using the Derby approved list of registered landlords;
  3. The Social Care Worker and Service User should view suitable properties and identify a suitable property taking into account the needs of the family and the location;
  4. Accommodation must be adequately furnished;
  5. The Social Care Worker will negotiate with the landlord the payment of the bond, rent and acquire the relevant information to make payment;
  6. The Social Care 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 Service User's  name as this will facilitate future claims for benefits if leave to remain is granted;
  8. Derby City Council will ensure that rent is paid to the landlord on a monthly basis directly to his/her bank account and ensure that Council tax is also paid;
  9. The Social Care 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 family 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 Council.

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

All identification documents supplied must be original documents, a certified copy or the best copies available.

Early Help and Social Care Workers should:

View the original documents, take photocopies and scan and upload them onto the clients file. (If the Applicant or any dependents have health needs, they must provide any documented evidence of ill health or disability for any member of the family, for example:. 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 prove address;
  • If available, travel documents like return air tickets;
  • If available, medical reports; and
  • If available, bank account statements (most recent 3 months).

Appendix B: Families with No Recourse to Public Funds: Agreement with Derby City Council Children and Young People's Department

Click here to view Appendix B: Families with No Recourse to Public Funds: Agreement with Derby City Council Children and Young People's Department

Appendix C: Guidance on Supporting Families with No Recourse to Public Funds

There are four categories of families who may approach the department for support as they have No Recourse to Public Funds. These are:

Asylum Seekers and Failed Asylum Seekers

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker children become the responsibility of the local authority under the Children Act 1989 S20 until their 18th birthday, and are eligible for Leaving Care Services. Local agreement is that the Leaving Care Service at Aspire will take case responsibility for all unaccompanied minors seeking asylum who are aged over 16 years, and those under 16 years will be allocated to the Children in Care team.

Adults with children seeking asylum must make their application for asylum as soon as they enter the country. Since April 2000 the Home Office has been responsible for providing support and accommodation for Asylum Seekers who would otherwise be destitute whilst their claim is being considered. This support is provided by United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UVKI)

Adults with children who have failed in their application for asylum must make an application for Section 4 support under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. In the interim period whilst the application for S4 is being processed it maybe necessary for the local authority to provide support to those who would otherwise be destitute.

Overstayers/Illegal Immigrants

Any person known to be in the country illegally is not eligible for any support unless not supporting them would breach their human rights. They should be reported to the UKVI immediately.

Those adults with children who are overstayers in the UK must make an application for leave to stay within seven days via a solicitor. To enable them to do this they must provide all necessary documentation which will include passports and birth certificates. Failure to do this will result in an application being declined and the local authority should not enter any agreement to provide support but should refer them to the UKVI.

Domestic Violence Concession

Some individuals will be resident in the country due to marriage, on a probationary period. It is expected that after two years of marriage a declaration will be made to the Home Office of a successful marriage and Indefinite Leave to Remain will be granted.

The Domestic Violence Concession was introduced on 16 June 1999 to assist those subject to immigration control whose marriage broke down during the probationary period as a result of domestic violence. It meant that those who could prove, by way of court conviction or similar, that the relationship ended because of domestic violence, were allowed to remain in the country under Indefinite Leave to Remain.

In order to do this UKVI must be satisfied that domestic violence can be evidenced with at least two of the following:

  • A medical report from a hospital doctor confirming the Applicant has injuries consistent with being the victim of domestic violence;
  • A letter from a GP who has examined the Applicant and is satisfied that they have injuries consistent with being the victim of domestic violence;
  • A police report confirming attendance at the home of the Applicant as a result of domestic violence;
  • A letter from Social Care agency confirming its involvement in connection with domestic violence;
  • A letter of support from a refuge.

Or one of the following:

  • An injunction, non-molestation order or other protection order against the sponsor;
  • A relevant court conviction against the sponsor;
  • Full details of a relevant police caution against the sponsor.

The local authority may be approached to provide interim support whilst an application is being considered as victims with No Leave to Remain will have not have any recourse to public funds. There will be some instances where people arrived in the country for the purpose of marriage and fall outside the probationary period without declaring the success of their marriage and subsequently experience domestic violence. These will be considered as overstayers.

European Union (EU) Nationals (excluding Croatia)

EU Nationals have a right of residency in the UK which entitles them to live and work providing they have a valid passport or  Identity Card. Once they are in the UK they must either be working or have enough money to support themselves and their family throughout their time in the UK without the help of public funds which includes Income Support, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

EU Nationals do not need a work permit in order to work legally, and should apply to the local Job Centre for a National Insurance Number. Whilst in the UK they can undertake whichever type of work they wish including self- employment.

Whilst they are working here legally, they are entitled to workers benefits' but when they are not working, they have to support themselves without access to benefits or public housing. After 12 months of continuous legal employment, they can work without restriction and access benefits if necessary. Free Movement of Workers is clear that EU Nationals must move to where the work is and does not endorse locating in one place if no work is available.

Families from the EU that present to the local authority as needing financial support are unlikely to qualify for such support except on a short term basis in a crisis situation. The legal underpinning for this support is Section 17 Children's Act 1989. Legal advice has indicated that arguments that human rights in terms of preventing inhuman or degrading treatment or the right to a private and family life are unlikely to be infringed, as long as these issues are considered in an assessment.

Unless their human rights will be breached without further assistance, any support offered should be limited to 7 days and not to exceed 28 days to allow for an assessment of the family's needs and support of their return to their home country or move to a new location where they can gain employment.

This should be made explicitly clear during the initial stage of assessment and at the first interview with the family; who should sign the written agreement (see appendices).

Current Agreed Payment Arrangements

Families with No Recourse to Public Funds must be destitute; that means they have no financial means to support themselves with accommodation and food.

Before any payment is made the local authority needs to be have explored any assistance available from other relatives including ex-partners and fathers of children. Once they are satisfied that no other support is available a weekly payment will be made on an interim basis only.

Agreed payments are:

  • Rent;
  • Council Tax;
  • Water rates;
  • £20 for gas and electric where metered or cost of bill;
  • £50 for 1 adult and 1 child;
  • £20 each for each subsequent child.

For those in Bed and Breakfast accommodation no payment will be made for utility bills, and weekly allowance will be reduced to £45 for adult and first child and £15 for subsequent children on the basis that one meal per day is provided.

The same principle will apply for children of school age who are in receipt of free school meals, hence reducing their weekly payment to £15 during term time.

Any additional costs will be made at the discretion of the local authority which may include furniture, clothing and educational costs.