We are really pleased to be able to share our new website with our members and the wider public. We have refreshed the aims and objectives of the Network with our Steering Group, and, as a result, primarily intend for our website to provide councils with essential information about the rights and entitlements of people with no recourse to public funds, best practice guidance, and the work that local government is doing to deliver ‘safety net’ support in a cost-effective manner. We also bring attention to the policy changes required to avoid cost-shunts to councils and reduce destitution in communities, with these asks being informed by the views and experiences of council officers working in the field.
At the same time, we are acutely aware that it has never been more necessary to ensure that people living in the UK without access to mainstream benefits are able to understand their rights and entitlements to public services, so have provided information about how immigration status impacts on access to services in a format that will be accessible to members of the public and anyone advising a person who has no recourse to public funds about their support options.
Our more detailed practice guidance for councils will be updated in due course and we will be adding new resources to help councils with the complex process of undertaking human rights assessments when people qualify for social services’ support but are in an excluded group. We are unfortunately not always able to provide information that is specific to the legislation that applies to the devolved powers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but will continue to support organisations in those parts of the UK to fill any gaps.
Our ethos has always been to make our guidance and resources freely available and we are only able to do this as a result of generating an income through delivering training. Councils that commission our services and make use of the NRPF Connect database to record the households they are supporting greatly contribute to the work that we do. For expert training, see our new online offer, as well as our recent data report, which shows how NRPF Connect continues to make cost savings for the councils using the system.
We also owe a big thanks to the ongoing support from Islington Council, which has hosted the Network since its inception in 2006, Islington’s NRPF team, and the members of our Steering Group. The expertise of colleagues across the sector has helped inform and guide our work and we are grateful to all who have contributed directly or through the regional networks.
With new Immigration Rules being implemented in January 2021 and the ending of European free movement in the UK, many residents will remain excluded from mainstream benefits and at risk of experiencing poverty or homelessness. See how you can get involved with our work to prevent homelessness, alleviate child poverty, promote integration within local communities, and to reduce spend when statutory duties are engaged to provide support. We also welcome any feedback on our new website, so please get in touch to let us know whether it helps you with your work or if there is other information you would like to see on it.