New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy: 2024

A strategy supporting the integration of refugees, people seeking asylum and other forced migrants within Scotland’s communities. The strategy is led jointly by the Scottish Government, COSLA and Scottish Refugee Council.

New Scots Governance

The New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy has had an established structure consisting of a Leadership Board, a Core Group, seven theme groups and an Evidence Group. These structures sit alongside various governance arrangements relating to the delivery of humanitarian protection programmes in the UK. The Strategy will guide all future responses to crises that bring forced migrants to Scotland.

Ensuring the voices of refugees, people seeking asylum and wider stakeholders continue to be heard throughout the lifespan of the Strategy is central to the New Scots approach. It is also critical that the work of New Scots uses research to evidence and construct outcomes; inform the implementation of the Strategy; and evaluate the success of Scotland’s approach to supporting refugees and people seeking asylum. However, what has become clear over the last few years is the importance of having New Scots structures which are able to adapt and respond to changing needs and circumstances.

As part of the engagement on Delivery Plans, there will be further discussions on what structures are required for this. These will feed into the following overarching structures, which will remain in their existing form:

Leadership Board

The New Scots Strategy is led in partnership by the Scottish Government, COSLA and Scottish Refugee Council. The Leadership Board will continue to bring together the Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees, the COSLA Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing and the Chief Executive of Scottish Refugee Council, with the independent 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 by the Scottish Government, local government and the third sector to tackle issues, which may impact on refugees and people seeking asylum 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.

Core Group

The Core Group will monitor and review progress against the overarching outcomes of New Scots Strategy and the associated Delivery Plan and ensure progress reports are published during the Strategy implementation period.

The Group will coordinate the work being done at the delivery level, identifying areas for collaboration and ensuring that work is not overlooked when it could be a focus for multiple groups. As progress is made and some actions are completed, the Core Group will ensure that Delivery Plans are refreshed to reflect the changing context.

New Scots will keep refugees and people seeking asylum at the heart of the Strategy. The Core Group will ensure that steps are taken to enable refugees, people seeking asylum and members of communities to engage with New Scots, so that their lived experience is central to delivery.

The following areas, which are of continued importance to New Scots, will be directly considered as part of the Delivery Plan:

Working Groups to progress, review and refresh actions during implementation

As part of the Delivery Plan, New Scots partners are committed to reviewing the Strategy themes to ensure that actions focus on those areas most relevant to New Scots and that any gaps are addressed. Once the themes and associated actions have been confirmed, we will seek to establish working groups to bring together statutory and non-statutory organisations, including service providers, New Scots, third sector and community-based organisations with an interest in supporting New Scots around particular actions as required.

Voices of New Scots

The development of this Strategy and Delivery Plan has been underpinned by engagement and academic research. The various strands of research carried out under the New Scots Refugee Integration Delivery Project all involved direct engagement with refugees and people seeking asylum, ensuring that those voices helped to shape the refresh of the Strategy from the outset. Initial engagement for the Strategy itself took place at the New Scots National Conference in November 2022 and this included a number of attendees with lived experience. In addition to this, an engagement exercise with over 2000 refugees and people seeking asylum took place between November 2023 and February 2024, through multiple engagement events across Scotland.

Ensuring continual dialogue with, and influence from, people with lived experience will remain a cornerstone of the Strategy. The voices of refugees and people seeking asylum will be engaged in a variety of ways and these will be explored and developed as part of the Delivery Plan to ensure that they align with actions.

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.

This includes working with existing local and regional networks and, where necessary, supporting their strengthening and development.

Ensuring that New Scots continues to be informed by research and evidence

Building on work over the last few years, New Scots will continue to seek to firmly root itself in evidence and independent academic research. This will include ensuring that there is effective monitoring and evaluation of work undertaken, as well as engagement with analysts, researchers and policy specialists working in New Scots partner organisations.



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