Ending destitution together: strategy

A strategy to improve support for people with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) living in Scotland.

Our Approach

The strategy sets out a cross-government and multi-agency approach to achieving our goals, working across national and local government, the wider public and third sectors. It takes a human rights-based approach and recognises the fundamental rights to an adequate standard of living – in particular the right to food, housing and social security[11] which is essential to ending destitution. It also recognises the role of public services and wider community support in helping people to: establish their rights and entitlements; improve their health and wellbeing; and access secure and well paid employment or sustainable support as routes out of destitution.

We will strengthen provision of support through the statutory safety net for families with children and adults with care needs. We will maximise the use of existing legislation, in particular the Children (Scotland) Act 1995[12] and Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968[13] which provide powers to Local Government to provide direct cash support and housing assistance to eligible families and adults.

We will also work in partnership with the third sector and wider civil society to develop the non-statutory safety net within communities for adults without children who are not eligible for local authority support. This will maximise the potential for voluntary and community organisations to provide humanitarian assistance including food, housing and crisis grant support to people who are restricted from statutory support.

We will increase the availability of specialist advice that can help people with NRPF to address immigration status issues as well as to remove barriers to access public services that support people’s physical and mental health. The strategy will support routes into sustainable employment for people with permission to work, enabling people to pursue their ambitions and support themselves and their family.

The strategy will draw on learning from the COVID-19 response and longer standing examples of policy interventions and service innovations which have enabled people with NRPF to access assistance safely and legally. This includes learning from local authority provision and from third sector programme delivery.

It will build skills and capacity across the public and third sector to understand the risk of destitution and to design and deliver holistic services for people with NRPF. This includes supporting frontline practitioners and senior and strategic leads within local authorities to design and manage effective service responses and local strategies to address destitution, as well as promoting a stronger understanding across government of how devolved policy can reduce destitution.

It will also help agencies to prepare for and respond to changes in rates of destitution as a result of policy or economic changes, such as the UK’s exit from the EU or the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes developing the evidence base on the needs of people with NRPF across Scotland and growing communities of practice to support the identification of successful policy solutions. It will also work to ensure that effective partnerships and delivery structures are developing across Scotland, so that support can be put in place wherever it is needed.


Email: ScotlandsRefugeeStrategy@gov.scot

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