Step 1 of 5: REVIEW

Last updated: 30th June 2020, Checked: 4th Nov 2021
Diagram showing 'review' highlighted


The COVID-19 crisis has profoundly changed and increased the needs of migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum. Understanding their current and emerging needs is crucial for planning how to respond, what services to offer and how to deliver them. 

At this stage, it’s important to share your reviews with other organisations who work with similar client groups. Collaborating and combining your efforts will better meet the needs of your clients.

Review current client needs

What to do

    List clients' current needs during lockdown
    Use monitoring information and records of the work you've been doing and consultation with clients and staff. You can also use research, such as the Refugee Action Data Hub bulletins.

    Needs can be wide ranging. At this stage, you don’t need to limit client needs to those you can definitely meet. Understanding those needs you can’t meet will also help you prioritise.

    Understand future client needs

    What to do

    1. List the needs that you expect to emerge after lockdown eases. 
    2. Be aware that immigration, benefits and housing system processes will restart. For example: housing evictions, need for immigration advice and new arrival support.
    3. Consider the longer term economic impact of the virus. For example, higher levels of unemployment and rising debt.

    Review the services you provide

    What to do

    1. Review with your staff and volunteers
      - What has been working well? For example, activities to continue or build upon. You can find this out through consultation with clients and staff.
      - How well have you met the needs of clients?
      - What have you not been able to do?
      - What services delivered during lockdown are unsustainable in the long term?

      Optional methods you can follow to get more information from your team:
      - Team surveys
      - Team meetings or working groups
    2. Map your clients' needs
      Map the client needs you identified to each of the services you provide, for example:

        Examples from organisations

        ACEVO’s self-assessment framework for leaders of organisations to help formulate thoughts and capture the learning gained from the experience of responding to COVID-19.

        Review how you can deliver services

        Key factors prompting organisations to consider reopening face-to-face services include isolation, deteriorating mental health and the difficulty of delivering remote support.

        However, responding to these needs must be balanced with duty of care to keep everyone involved safe. Higher risk to certain groups of individuals is a crucial factor to consider, whether staff, volunteers or those accessing services.

        Many organisations we’ve spoken to are concerned that once services are reopened,
        the safety of workers, volunteers and clients could be a risk; access to support may become confusing; and services may become overwhelmed.

        What to do

        1. Identify which services can be delivered remotely
          - You should strongly consider continuing some activities remotely. A number of organisations have found remote working better for communication and organisation.
          - Does your organisation have the right technology to run an effective remote service?
          - Assess whether the people you want to reach have access to the right tech and digital skills. Our Digital Inclusion guidance may help you decide the best way to bridge this gap.
        2. Identify which services must be delivered face-to-face
          - See Refugee Action's how-to guide on delivering face-to-face services safely
          - Can this service be delivered on an appointment basis? Face-to-face services must follow social distancing, and reducing the number of people present will improve safety.
        3. Determine potential pros and cons of returning vs staying remote for each service
          Will staff, volunteers and clients need to travel on public transport to deliver or access the service?

          St. Augustine’s Centre are asking themselves these questions to decide whether, and when, to reopen face-to-face services: 
          a) Do the benefits of doing this service or activity face-to-face, outweigh the risks to all involved?
          b) Will doing this service or activity in person, offer improvements in mental health, physical health, or access to support in a way virtual support can’t?

          They have helpfully shared their working plan for reviewing services and planning future delivery.

        Translation services

        NACCOM have provided a list of translation services that you can use, which comes recommended by their members.

        Factors to consider

        Vulnerable staff, volunteers and clients: These individuals should continue working or accessing support from home until it is safe to return.

        Will your staff and volunteers catch public transport to work?


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