New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy 2024: engagement analysis report

Analysis of engagement which informed the development of Scotland’s New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy 2024.


Over the last two years, consultation and engagement was undertaken with a variety of stakeholders to inform the new strategy in different ways. These included:

  • Various research projects including a large research study by the University of Glasgow[4],
  • An independent evaluation of the New Scots Strategy delivery and learning from funded refugee integration projects[5],
  • A New Scots conference in November 2022.

As a result of these activities and events a draft version of the 3rd iteration of the New Scots Strategy was circulated for stakeholder review in October 2023. This was known as the New Scots Strategic Framework. It included the strategy’s Vision and Purpose, Approach and Principles, as well as Outcomes sections.

The Strategy Partners then discussed and agreed a 2-phased approach to informing and engaging with New Scots, statutory and professional partners, practitioners from Third Sector organisations and refugee-assisting groups.

The 2-phased approach consisted of a series of Framework Engagement events, involving as many stakeholders as possible, at which the defining sections of the draft strategy framework were made available, and a series of questions asked to solicit feedback.

These Framework Engagement events were planned to prepare the lived experience representatives for the 2nd phase: consulting with their community groups to ascertain their priority areas in terms of actions needed. These would be collated and used to inform the interventions undertaken to implement the Strategy. A small grant was made available to each community group to facilitate their consultation event.

Framework engagement events

The purpose of the Framework Engagement events was to ensure that the professionals, practitioners and New Scots all had a working understanding of the Framework and an opportunity to review the strategy through a series of facilitated discussions.

To ensure the lived experience representatives were prepared for the Framework Engagement events, a ‘Framework Orientation event’ was held on 26/10/23. This orientation session introduced lived experience representatives to:

  • A brief history of the evolution of the New Scots Strategy;
  • The purpose and anticipated outcomes of the Framework Engagement events;
  • More details of the community consultation process and the need to provide an event proposal and budget; and,
  • The questions for their communities to consider and respond to.

Between the 7th and 16th of November 2023 the Scottish Government, Scottish Refugee Council, COSLA and colleagues from the University of Glasgow organised and ran events with the aim to gather and process feedback and views from organisational, professional, and lived experience stakeholders. The November 2023 events were delivered in Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow and online using video-conferencing software.

At each Framework Engagement event the participants were split into groups; points related to the shape of the next strategy were discussed in the morning, points related to the shape of the delivery plan were discussed in the afternoon after a lunch break. The points are detailed below:

1 – Shaping the next New Scots Strategy

  • The vision of the strategy
  • The draft principles of the strategy
  • The draft outcomes of the strategy
  • Overall views of the strategy as a whole

2 – Shaping the Delivery Plan and Actions

  • Actions at a local level
  • Actions at a national level
  • Top action to improve the lives of New Scots

At each of the in-person events participants sat themselves at a table of their choice. Every table was equipped with a facilitator who guided the sessions, ensuring that the conversations remained focused and productive, and a dedicated note taker who captured what was said on flipchart paper. The output from these events was written up by colleagues at SRC and sent for analysis by the Scottish Government with input and support from COSLA and the University of Glasgow.

In total 330 stakeholders attended the Framework Engagement events. The attendees represented a number of different organisations, as detailed in table 1 below:

Table 1: Attendees at framework engagement events by organisational form

Local Authority, Education, Police Scotland: 126

Volunteering: 9

Third Sector: 23

Community Groups: 74

Scottish Government: 12

Scottish Refugee Council: 12

Unknown/Individual: 71

University of Glasgow: 3

Total: 330

Community consultation process

Having attended the Framework Engagement events, lived experience representatives were able to organise and hold Community Consultation events. These events were all held by the end of February 2024.

To participate in this collaborative process, leaders and representatives of refugee and asylum-seeking groups and communities were asked to:

  • Organise and hold an event, for which funding was provided, to consult their communities (minimum of 5 people) by discussing and elaborating responses to three set questions; and,
  • Document and send their answers to SRC by a specific deadline.

Attendees were asked to discuss and respond to a series of questions related to actions needed to ensure that all New Scots, and the communities in which they live in Scotland, are able to successfully achieve the vision and outcomes of the New Scots Strategy.

The three set questions and corresponding prompts asked at these events are detailed below:

Question 1: In your community, local authority area, region, what are organisations (local authorities, public bodies, charities, refugee and community groups) currently doing well that contribute to supporting your integration?

How could these be improved?

What further actions need to happen locally?

Question 2: Thinking about the New Scots Partnership (Scottish Government, Council of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and Scottish Refugee Council) and other national organisations – what are the positive things they are doing to support your community?

How could these be built on?

What further actions are needed at a national level?

Question 3: Based on your discussions above, if your community could choose only one action that the Scottish Government could deliver to improve their lives, what would that action be?

In total 2187 stakeholders attended the community consultation events. Further details can be found in table 2 below:

Table 2: Community consultation events

Number of funded groups: 72

Number of events held: 81

Total number of attendees: 2187

Number of young people (under 18): 98 (where recorded)[6]

Locations by Local Authority Aberdeen, Clackmannanshire, Dundee (City), East Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Highlands, Moray Council, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire. (16 of 32)

Representation by group demographic (where known and recorded)[7].

8 African groups, 3 women focused groups,

6 Ukrainian groups, 1 LGBTQI groups,

4 Afghan groups, 3 Yemen groups,

2 Community Learning and Development (CLD) groups, 3 Syrian groups,

4 Groups of people seeking asylum, accommodated in hotels across Scotland.

Notes on necessary subjectivity and limitations

The analysis conducted offers no commentary on the content of participants’ contributions, and as such, some comments may mention areas where work should be carried out that is already happening.

The methodology underlying this engagement analysis implied a number of limitations related primarily to problems around language and IT. Firstly, given that many of the participants’ first language was not English, responses were at times not entirely clear and so required a degree of reshaping to ensure they were clearer and easier to include. This task by necessity implied the exercise of some subjectivity to best interpret responses for the sake of clarity. Secondly, those New Scots who cannot speak English at all were not present at community consultation events to give evidence or insight; therefore, the perspective of individuals from this vulnerable group are not represented. It is also important to note that responses were collected from participants anonymously, so it is not possible to ascertain what comments were made by individuals or representatives from particular organisations or groups.

There are also limitations specific to the technology used during the online engagement event. This event aimed to provide access for those who could not make the events in person for various reasons ranging from finances to disability. However, the chosen methods expected to collect data during the online event were found to be quite limited. The online tool that was used to gather and reflect the feedback, similar to the flip charts used at the in-person events, allowed for a significant degree of flexibility as to where information was captured and, as a result, this information was not always arranged in order. The people copying and writing up this data for analysis were also understandably, not present at every conversation at every table or in every group and therefore could not provide context for the responses that were recorded. Consequently, some sections of the data could not be used as the original meaning of the responses could not be successfully ascertained.

Finally, it is important to note that the analysis conducted offers no commentary on the content of participants’ contributions. Some comments therefore may express individual’s perceptions of what needs to be done or has not been done well in particular areas, rather than accurately reflecting facts.



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