New Scots refugee integration strategy 2018 to 2022: engagement analysis

Analysis of engagement which informed the development of Scotland’s second New Scots refugee integration strategy.

Chapter 1 Introduction

Between May and November 2017, the Scottish Government ran an engagement process to inform Scotland's second New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy (New Scots 2). Its aim was to gather views from a wide range of stakeholders, including refugees and asylum seekers. In addition, initial engagement took place at the "Scotland Welcomes Refugees" conference, held in November 2016.

The Scottish Government developed an engagement facilitation guide, in partnership with COSLA and the Scottish Refugee Council. This enabled community groups and organisations to arrange their own engagement events. This allowed discussion and group feedback in a setting that was familiar and accessible to the respondents. 94 engagement events were held across Scotland.

The engagement asked broad and open-ended questions, ensuring that participants were able to raise the issues that were most important to them. The questions were:

  • Thinking about refugee integration in Scotland, what issues are important to you now?
  • What changes do you want to see by 2020 and why?
  • What can you, your community or your organisation do to contribute to that change?
  • Any final comments?

Rocket Science UK Ltd was commissioned by the Scottish Government to analyse the engagement responses and report on the findings.

Background to New Scots 2

Scotland's New Scots approach aims to support refugees, asylum seekers [1] and the communities they settle in.

The development of New Scots 2 follows on from the three-year strategy "New Scots: Integrating Refugees in Scotland's Communities" that was launched in December 2013. Recognising significant changes in Scotland affecting refugee integration since the first strategy, the planning of New Scots 2 started in late 2016. This included engaging with a wide range of stakeholders and New Scots partners during the "Scotland Welcomes Refugees" conference in November 2016.

The new strategy - "New Scots: refugee integration strategy 2018 to 2022" - was published in January 2018. Its vision is for a "welcoming Scotland where refugees and asylum seekers are able to rebuild their lives from the day they arrive". There are five principles underlying New Scots 2:

  • Integration from Day One
  • A rights based approach
  • Refugee involvement
  • Inclusive communities
  • Partnership and collaboration.

In addition, New Scots 2 set the following four outcomes:

  • Refugees and asylum seekers live in safe, welcoming and cohesive communities and are able to build diverse relationships and connections.
  • Refugees and asylum seekers understand their rights, responsibilities and entitlements and are able to exercise them to pursue full and independent lives.
  • Refugees and asylum seekers are able to access well-coordinated services, which recognise and meet their rights and needs.
  • Policy, strategic planning and legislation, which have an impact on refugees and asylum seekers, are informed by their rights, needs and aspirations. [2]

These four outcomes will be achieved through the work of seven groups that cover the seven themes of New Scots 2:

  • Needs of Asylum Seekers
  • Employability and Welfare Rights
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Language
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Communities, Culture and Social Connections.

The findings of this engagement analysis will inform the work of the different theme groups. New Scots 2 can only cover the aspects of refugee integration that are devolved to the Scottish Government and cannot directly address issues which are outside the scope of the Scottish Government, Scottish local authorities and other Scottish organisations.

However, in analysing the responses to the engagement, we have covered all the issues being raised, regardless of whether they fall under reserved or devolved powers.


This section outlines the methodology of the research, analysis and reporting process.

Rocket Science was sent the 92 responses that were submitted through Citizenspace in an Excel format. The notes from the 2016 conference were also provided in an Excel format. The remaining organisational response was provided in a pdf format. All responses were uploaded onto NVivo for analysis.

NVivo is a qualitative analysis programme enabling the coding of responses into categories and sub-categories ("nodes" and "sub-nodes"). After reviewing 27 responses, a coding framework – outlining the different categories to which responses could be coded – was developed and agreed with the Scottish Government. All submitted responses were coded using this framework. Once all the responses had been coded, the coding framework was further refined, establishing precise categories as the basis for the reporting stage.

The engagement asked three questions (see the beginning of Chapter 1), the responses to which formed the basis of the analysis. However, respondents often raised similar points across all questions, so the analysis did not follow a strict question by question approach. Instead, the responses were coded in relation to the analytical categories of the coding framework, accounting for the fact that particular categories cut across answers to different questions. Hence, the analysis builds on the answers to the three engagement questions but is not constrained by them.

In analysing the responses, account was taken of the broad range of opinions expressed, while still providing viewpoints with the necessary level of detail. When interpreting the findings of this report, however, it is important to consider that the views gathered in an open engagement analysis cannot be regarded as representative of the population as a whole.

When discussing the prevalence of certain views across different engagement responses, the following terms are used to indicate the proportion of engagement responses that raised this point:

  • "Few" means between 5 and 9%
  • "Some" means between 10 and 19%
  • "Many" means between 20 and 49%
  • "Most" or "majority" means 50 to 74%
  • "Large majority" or "broad agreement" means 75 to 89%
  • "Consensus" means 90% or more.

In this report, the whole range of views expressed by responses is explored. The report does not provide any recommendations about how to respond to the findings of the engagement analysis. The viewpoints expressed in this report were submitted in the engagement responses and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Scottish Government, COSLA, the Scottish Refugee Council, or other New Scots partners.

Report structure

This report is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 2 outlines the profile of those who responded to the engagement, including the dates of the engagement events and the demographic characteristics of attendants to the events
  • Chapter 3 presents the needs of asylum seekers
  • Chapter 4 describes the views on asylum seekers' employability and welfare rights
  • Chapter 5 describes the housing issues being faced by refugees and asylum seekers
  • Chapter 6 describes the education issues being faced by refugees and asylum seekers
  • Chapter 7 describes the language issues being faced by refugees and asylum seekers
  • Chapter 8 describes the health and wellbeing issues being faced by refugees and asylum seekers
  • Chapter 9 presents the views on the impact on and implication for communities, culture and social connections
  • Chapter 10 Sets out the views on the risks of poverty and destitution
  • Chapter 11 presents the other issues which were raised
  • The appendix sets out the list of organisations that contributed to the engagement.


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