Annex B: New Scots Implementation
The first New Scots strategy established a group structure consisting of a Core Group and six theme groups. This model will continue, boosted by the establishment of a Leadership Board, an Evidence Group, an additional theme group and new structures to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers are supported to play a central role in the implementation and monitoring of the strategy.
The New Scots strategy is led in partnership by the Scottish Government, COSLA and the Scottish Refugee Council. The Leadership Board will bring together the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, the COSLA Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing and the Chief Executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, with the Chair of the New Scots Core Group. It will meet at least annually during the strategy implementation and may choose to meet more frequently. The purpose of the Board will be to oversee the direction of the strategy and to ensure that a collaborative approach is taken to tackle issues, which may impact on refugees and asylum seekers living in Scotland. Part of the role of the Board will be to secure key partners' commitment to New Scots at the highest level and to involve them in the work of the Board as appropriate.
The Core Group will monitor and review progress against the overarching outcomes of New Scots and ensure reports are published during the strategy implementation period.
The Group will coordinate the work of theme groups, identifying areas for collaboration; preventing duplication of effort; and ensuring that work is not neglected when it could be a focus for multiple groups. As progress is made and some actions are completed, the Core Group will ensure that theme groups refresh their actions.
New Scots will keep refugees and asylum seekers at the heart of the strategy. The Core Group will ensure that steps are taken to enable refugees, asylum seekers and members of communities to engage with New Scots, so that their lived experience is central to delivery.
Engagement has indicated that all six themes established for the first strategy remain relevant and, that through them, priorities for refugees, asylum seekers and communities can be progressed. The addition of language as a distinct theme will ensure that there is appropriate focus on this crucial aspect of integration.
The seven theme groups bring together statutory and non-statutory organisations, including service providers and third sector and community based organisations with an interest in supporting refugees and asylum seekers. Each group is responsible for determining how it operates, and co-chairs have been appointed to coordinate the work of the groups. The model of co-chairs, which sees representatives of different organisations share this responsibility, proved effective during the first strategy and is the recommended approach for theme groups.
Each theme group is responsible for identifying actions to contribute to the New Scots outcomes. New Scots is intended to be a dynamic strategy, which is able to adapt to the changing needs of refugees and asylum seekers living in Scotland. To do this, theme groups will be expected to review and refresh actions during implementation.
An Evidence Group has been established to support the Core Group and work across the theme groups. It is intended that this group will help to identify and interpret relevant data, which can evidence outcomes; inform the implementation of the strategy; and evaluate the success of Scotland's approach to supporting refugees and asylum seekers.
The Evidence Group includes representatives of each theme group and will also seek to engage analysts, researchers and policy specialists working in New Scots partner organisations.
Voices of Refugees and Asylum Seekers
The development of this strategy has been underpinned by engagement with over 700 refugees and asylum seekers, through multiple engagement events across Scotland. In addition to ensuring that those voices are reflected within the work of the strategy, a cornerstone of the strategy will be ensuring continual dialogue with, and influence from, people with lived experience. There will be a variety of ways refugee and asylum seeker voices will be engaged.
The British Red Cross will establish an advisory group of people with lived experience, creating a safe space for discussions on integration. This will complement existing refugee forums, supported by the Scottish Refugee Council, such as the Refugee Women's Strategy Group and the Refugee Policy Forum, as well as the Scottish Refugee Council's engagement with refugee-led community organisations across Scotland. Many community-led welcome groups already include and involve refugees. Continued engagement with these organisations will be an integral part of the strategy.
The British Red Cross will also expand its 'Voices Network' within Scotland. This programme provides training and support to enable people with lived experience to safely share their perspectives.
Wider Stakeholder Engagement
The strategy will seek to ensure that it engages with partners and stakeholders, who are not directly involved in other New Scots groups, but who can provide new perspectives and contribute views on approaches that are being taken through the strategy. One of the ways this will be taken forward will be through the Integration Forum, which was originally established in 2015 as part of Scotland's response to the humanitarian crisis. The Forum enabled knowledge exchange between its members and communicated action being taken to support Syrian refugee resettlement in Scotland.
The Forum will continue to meet as a means of keeping interested organisations informed about work to support all refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland. This will help to support a wider understanding of work taking place under New Scots; allow signposting of ways organisations might want to become involved; and provide an opportunity for networking, sharing of good practice and provision of feedback to help inform future work.