For our 14th Insight Hub survey, we selected several topics which were raised in the service delivery and planning section of Bulletin 13, to complement our existing data and get a better understanding of priority needs in these key areas. This bulletin presents data collected from 55 organisations working with people in the immigration system across the UK.
Developing insight on organisations’ challenges and concerns:
Staff and Volunteer Recruitment
- 52% organisations are finding recruitment more difficult now than it was before the start of the pandemic.
- 31% are currently having difficulty filling available positions in their organisation, the main issues being a lack of applicants with the required skill set or experience and being unable to offer a competitive salary
- Organisations commented on the relationship between recruitment and funding issues: short term funding limits the attractiveness of the jobs they offer, while the resources demanded by recruitment squeeze already limited management capacity.
Advocacy and Campaigning
- 73% organisations carry out advocacy and campaigning work
- 55% have increased their capacity for or focus on advocacy and campaigning over the past year. 52% of these are campaigning on the Nationality and Borders bill.
- Funding was the main barrier for organisations getting more involved in advocacy and campaigning
Online and Covid-19 Safeguarding
- 31% are experiencing ongoing challenges with digital safeguarding in remote service delivery. Of these, 67% cited difficulty identifying or assessing risks.
- While using remote services 25% told us they face ongoing challenges with GDPR compliance and online security.
- While operating in-person services, 60% reported difficulty evaluating Covid-19 risk under changing circumstances.
- In spite of these challenges, only 13% (6) respondents reported they were unable to keep clients safe and 9% (4) unable to keep staff safe.
Client Mental Health
- The overall picture from respondents is that changes in client mental health have been mixed without clear overall improvement or deterioration
- 79% organisations ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ that “the impact of the pandemic on client mental health continues to unfold and new problems are emerging.”
- 91% respondents either ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ that clients’ lives remain extremely stressful due to the pressures they face in the immigration system so there has been no clear change in mental health since the end of lockdown/lifting of restrictions”
“The return to some face-to-face activities has helped some service users, but I would say generally the impact of the pandemic is still emerging and with the uncertainty of what is happening next this exacerbates poor mental health.”
Hate Crime and Far Right Activity
- 75% of respondents to this question (27) told us that in the last 6 months their clients have disclosed experiences of verbal abuse/harassment from the public, and 25% (9) from public sector or government-contracted staff
- 25% (9) of respondents had received disclosures of physical violence towards clients from members of the public.
- 13% said their organisation has been subjected to far right activity or hate crime including online attacks and 38% told us they do not feel equipped to respond to these attacks.
“It is very stressful and it makes people feel unsafe and unsettled.”
- The main support needs outlined by organisations were in relation to communications, media and messaging, safeguarding, strategy development and fundraising.
- 'Other' support needs included support with governance, diversifying staff and line management skills development.