New Scots Core Group minutes: December 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 13 December 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Alison Phipps, University of Glasgow (Chair)
  • Ghizala Avan, Mental Health Foundation
  • Gary Christie, Scottish Refugee Council
  • Gayle Findlay, COSLA
  • Lorna Gilmour, DWP Scotland
  • Jacqui Hughes, DWP Scotland
  • Paul Matheson, Police Scotland
  • Emma McKean, Police Scotland
  • Elodie Mignard, Scottish Refugee Council
  • Madhi Saki, Mental Health Foundation
  • Wafa Shaheen, Scottish Refugee Council
  • Will Tuladhar-Douglas, COSLA
  • Hugh Kirkland, Scottish Government
  • Billy McKenzie, Scottish Government
  • Jackie Walder, Scottish Government
  • Natalie Nixon, Scottish Government (minutes)
  • Georgia de Courcey Wheeler, Scottish Government
  • Will TylerGreig, Scottish Government


  • Phil Arnold, British Red Cross
  • Sarah Cox, Glasgow ESOL Forum
  • Eva Hanna, University of Glasgow
  • Maggie Lennon, Bridges Programmes
  • Ian McLellan, University of Strathclyde
  • Andrew Morrison, COSLA
  • Amira Petrescu, Police Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies 

Alison welcomed everyone to the meeting, including Amira Petrescu and Emma McKean who will be taking over from Suzanne Ng who is stepping down. Amira was previously part of core group and was welcomed back.

Representatives of ScotCen were due to present at core group but due to unforeseen circumstances on their end, they were unable to join. 

Alison noted the sad news regarding the passing of Marion Gibbs, Co-chair of the New Scots Housing Group. Marion’s team in SG are making arrangements for people to send condolences and core group will look to feed into this.

Alison spoke about how Marion was part of New Scots for many years and that she had really fond memories of working with her and how helpful and accommodating she was.

Action: If any members have particular memories that they would like to see included as part of a group letter on behalf of group, please reach out to Alison.

Minutes/action points from meeting on 04 october 2022

Alison invited core group to raise any issues with the minutes from 4 October meeting. The group was content with the minutes as they stood with no issues raised. 

Alison reminded the group about discussion at the October core group meeting following a Parliamentary Question received by the Scottish Government about publishing of core group minutes. Agreed minutes will be published starting from the 8 June meeting. Natalie will recirculate the 8 June minutes following this meeting, so that group members can do a final review for their interests. 

Action: Jenny to follow up on the ARC card issue that was raised at the previous meeting on 4 October. 

New Scots Refugee Integration Delivery Project update 

Workstreams 1 and 2 update

Jenny spoke to paper 2 which provided an update on workstreams 1 and 2. Workstream 1 looks at spreading good practice and workstream 2 is around supporting integration awarded funding to 56 projects. 

Workstream 3 update

Alison and Hugh spoke to paper 3 which was an update on workstream 3. Workstream 3 of the project incorporates a series of research projects which are funded directly from the workstream budget. The workstream supports monitoring and evaluation of the funded projects alongside the reporting project the monitoring of evaluation as part of reporting to UKRA.

Academic Think Piece

Alison spoke to the Academic Think Piece which was shared with core group ahead of the meeting. This work was led by researchers Dan Hughes and Esa Aldegheri using largely ethnographic methods. It was launched at Scotland House in Brussels on 6 December.  

The research is based on a peer-reviewed literature review and research by by the University of Glasgow and includes 70 recommendations, going more broadly than New Scots and widening integration from service delivery and human rights to an inter-cultural framework enabled by a community development model. 

These recommendations state the importance of an intercultural environment that is trauma informed and rights based. Often operated through language and culture and sporting events that a communication model can enable.

It has expanded the Ager and Strang model (Indicators of Integration) to give it wider purview and strength. 

Hugh mentioned that SG have agreed to an extension of the final report being that is being drafted by ScotCen. This report will now be published in Spring 2023.

The IPPR analysis is underway and the report is also due to be published in Spring 2023 and the public polling by Survation is due to commence in the new year.

Scotland House launch

Gary spoke about the New Scots event at Scotland House in Brussels. Gary said the event was well received and there was links made between New Scots and a project from Italy. In attendance was the New Scots funder from AMIF and representatives from the Finnish Embassy, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE).

New Scots conference

Gary provided a summary of the New Scots Conference which took place on 11 November. Around 200 people attended the event from 71 organisations. The purpose of the conference was to celebrate the delivery of projects funded through AMIF and bring people together. It was also the start of discussions around the next iteration of the New Scots strategy and what engagement may look like for this. 

There was positive feedback with the vast majority of delegates saying the conference was informative or very informative. The section where projects provided an overview of their work was especially well received. 

A conference report is being put together and the aim is for this to be published by the end of the year.

There were three questions that were asked as part of a facilitated table discussion in the afternoon. There were around: Challenges, understandings of integration (and what supports it) and what engagement for New Scots 3 might look like. 

For the question about challenges there were a few key themes: funding; policy issues (where responsibilities lie with regards to devolved and reserved powers); disparities between different humanitarian protection schemes; and service access (such as childcare and digital access).

For the question on integration, involving communities locally was seen as key to supporting integration while also ensuring national involvement. 

The New Scots 3 question was discussed under item 5.

Creative Tender 

Gary also discussed the creative tender which is to create a New Scots microsite. The design agency Tangent has been commissioned to create this. The website will have case studies from all funded projects and will host the various research reports being produced as part of New Scots 3. 

There have been some challenges in visually capturing the integration activities of a lot of the projects, so illustrations are being commissioned to fill in the gap. 

The aim is to have most of the content on the microsite to go live by the end of January 2023.

Additional AMIF funding for 2023

Alison spoke to this item. At the October meeting, following invitation by UKRA, New Scots partners agreed that they would like to apply for additional AMIF funding for 2023. 

An application was put in that focused on ensuring all learning from the current strategy was maximised and embedded into the new strategy. This application was successful and resulted in a grant of £1.65 million. 

This will enable provision of a small grants fund to support engagement for New Scots 3 and continued funding for Refugee Festival Scotland 2023, including ensuring small organisations are able to participate. It will also facilitate the extension of research and public engagement and target ‘good practice’ through procuring a limited number of defined projects across two of the highest priority areas: ESOL and Employability. 

Alison gave a huge thank you to Jenny in recognition of the hard work she put in to securing this funding which will be critical to the integration work over the next year.

The additional AMIF funding will sit alongside lottery funding for refugee community organisations being co-ordinated by SRC.

Wafa mentioned that all the Scottish AMIF-funded projects have received additional funding for 2023, including the SRC Refugee Integration Service and the Scottish Guardianship Service project.

Action: Group asked if they could have a think about images for Gary for the microsite

New Scots final report

Jenny reminded group about the Final Implementation Progress Reporting Form which was shared on the 16th November. No feedback on this form was received so the form was sent back out with co-chairs being given until Monday 16 January to return the completed templates. 

These completed templates, together with outputs from the New Scots Refugee Integration Delivery Project (NSRIDP) will be used for the final report. We will be looking to finalise this by the end of March, drawing together those reports and work done under the project.

Action: Co-chairs to complete and return templates by Monday 16 January.

New Scots Strategy 3


Alison noted that at the October meeting the group had discussed putting back the strategy timescales to ensure development was not rushed and that the next strategy is of a high quality.

Jenny spoke to paper 5 which presented a proposed timeline for 2023. Jenny mentioned some of the key items in the strategy development, including the impact assessments and the engagement process and the importance of lived experience.

Engagement feedback from conference 

Natalie spoke to paper 6 which was a summary of the engagement question from conference. There was a good amount of conversation generated at the conference around how engagement events for the third New Scots strategy might be supported. Core group were then asked if they could think of anything else that may be missing which could support engagement. Comments were:

  • feedback mirrors findings from academic research and provides a rich resource.
  • it brought to mind the ‘National Standards for Community Engagement’. There was a question about whether these Standards have been updated and are still available.
  • National Standards on Intercultural Working provide a lot of good learning.
  • SRC have been working with the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) around training and modules for community groups around sustainability and capacity. One tool focuses on seeking the voice of those in your community and could be used in the engagement process.  
  • SCDC have also been delivering accredited modules to first year university level on working with refugee and asylum seeker communities and looking at how communities can make a difference through empowerment and capacity. The course aims to support and empower local and community groups to lead engagement work themselves and to trust them in what they find and to hear them. This is increasingly becoming a feature of NS landscape. It has been very well received and is looking to run again in January 2023.
  • this is like what the resettlement officers have been doing in local authorities and the Refugee Integration Coordinators (RICs) in SRC. There are different approaches, such as art rather than interviews, which are not trauma informed. 

Emerging issues and updates

Ukrainian resettlement

Georgia from the Ukraine Resettlement team provided an update on the Scottish Government’s Ukraine Resettlement work.

Georgia mentioned that although people are still arriving, this has slowed down from the peak in summer with roughly 60-80 people per day arriving in Scotland. Not all of those arriving require immediate assistance (e.g. hotels), but do need wider integration support.

A £50 million capital investment fund has been launched for local authorities to bring void properties back into use. Properties are now becoming available across various local authorities, including Aberdeen City Council and North Lanarkshire, where renovations are being done to bring around 400 homes back into use. 

There is an understanding that community hosting is not a long term solution. As such a Scotland specific campaign for Scottish hosts had been launched for the immediate term. 

Some private hosing arrangements are likely to come to an end, as six months is now up, and people will be looking to move to new accommodation. 

More structurally, there is a new short-term Directorate within the Scottish Government for Ukraine. Similar to Covid, this has been set up to deal with the immediate crisis situation which saw 21,000 people arrive in six months. So far this has focused on the immediate need for accommodation and to-date, not as much on longer term integration. There is uncertainty around what will happen at the end of people’s 3 year visas, so the team is looking to bring the work back into the longer term integration space.

Elodie mentioned that SRC will be working with SG and others to set up a stakeholder reference group to ensure that voices of stakeholders are involved from the third sector and Ukrainian communities. Elodie offered to feedback on this work here which others were keen on. 

Action: Elodie to feedback to core group on stakeholder reference group

Afghan Resettlement (ARAP/ACRS) and UKRS

Gayle provided an update to core group on the Afghanistan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP)/Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) and the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS).

There are around 9,000 people in hotels in the UK from the original evacuations, with four hotels in Scotland. There is beginning to be more movement with a small rise in people moving out of hotels and into accommodation across Scotland. Home Office liaison officers are working with people to understand their rights and entitlements, and work is also being undertaken on homelessness processes.

The Home Office is now looking at pre-matching with local authorities to allocated accommodation ahead of arrival. 

With UKRS, there has been a rise in referrals and arrivals in recent months, but a lot of cases are complex, so it can take a long time to identify suitable properties and support. 

Asylum Dispersal and UASC

Gayle provided an update on asylum dispersal and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC). She advised that COSLA Leaders have agreed a full dispersal plan, based on an equitable distribution across all Scottish local authorities. Local authority discussions with Mears on property procurement are ongoing. 


Gayle noted the pressures on local authorities, with the National Transfer Scheme rota moving quickly and not yet having slowed for winter. Local authorities are struggling to find placements, and work is ongoing nationally to find solutions for the medium to long term. 

Gary noted pressures for the Scottish Guardianship Service in supporting all young people and delays indecision making, which has now moved to Liverpool, meaning SRC have needed to rebuild relationships. 

He noted the Prime Minister’s statement on clearing the asylum backlog and potential focus on removing individuals. He highlighted other ways to clear the backlog such as the granting of status or temporary status.

Any other business

Paul mentioned Scottish Government engagement on Hate Crime Implementation.

There was a good event with BEMIS, but some of the guidance had felt a bit dated in terms of focus on terminology. He asked whether anyone has been involved in this consultation from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds and from organisations that support them. 

Action: Jackie to follow up with the Hate Crime Team. 

Date of next meeting

Alison mentioned that there are no dates set for 2023 yet but we will be looking to get these in the diaries soon. Alison asked if members are happy to stick to quarterly meetings with the possibility of an additional meeting, should the need arise.

Alison mentioned that we are looking at refreshing Governance, involving Ukraine and themes of New Scots.

Alison closed the meeting by thanking everyone for their hard work and commitment during these hard few years where members have had to deal with a lot of different crises and issues.

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