The SLF is about to come to the end of its pilot period, and now has the results of an independent evaluation commissioned by the funders. The evaluation was very positive, and recommended seeking additional funding to continue the work and develop the model. So we are doing that, and also looking to extend the scope of the Fund to cover all migrant children and young people, not just refugees. Firetail, the evaluators, did comment on how MigrationWork has contributed to this success so far:
Participants from all groups emphasise the professionalism and expertise with which MigrationWork, as the most widely recognised ‘face’ of SLF, is delivering the programme. Stakeholders from all groups feel that the teamʼs combination of knowledge of the sector and interpersonal skills facilitates positive relationships with the commissioning bodies, applicants and members of the Expert Panel. Their reputation and ‘connectedness’ are viewed as valuable for the Fund. There is much praise for the way MigrationWork communicates with all parties and several comments are made about the ‘excellent quality’ of materials produced. A number of interviewees discuss how MigrationWork adopts a professional but personal approach to supporting grant applications. A couple of stakeholders recount instances where grant applications would not have been made without the ʻsupport and perseveranceʼ provided by MigrationWork. MigrationWorkʼs efforts to identify and work with appropriate organisations and networks to promote the Fund are also recognised by participants.
“MigrationWork have been critical. They have a depth and knowledge of both the law and the wider issues and they know a lot of the lawyers and that kind of personal relationship has worked really well.”
– Partnership organisation
“MigrationWork have done a brilliant job in what could have been a really bureaucratic process… they make it easy to consider the applications so it is not onerous.”
– Expert Panel
“Making a funding application was out of our frame of reference. Fran made it so clear that whatever help we needed, to talk through, or input looking at drafts… that it was available.”
The evaluation was finished just as we got the judgement on the first intervention funded by the SLF:
In February and March 2012 the Migrants’ Law Project (MLP) received funding from the Strategic Legal Fund to undertake work to represent Refugee Action in an intervention in a claim for judicial review. The judicial review challenged the Governmentʼs policy of delaying consideration of applications for Section 4 support from destitute asylum seekers where they had made further submissions asserting fresh claims for asylum and human rights protection.
Judgement went in favour of the applicants, so the policy to delay payments to destitute people making fresh claims for asylum was declared illegal and the Home Secretary told she would have to rewrite policies to make sure that the government meets its human rights obligations. The submissions made and evidence presented by Refugee Action were referred to in the judgement. The work would not have been possible without the grant and Migrants Law Project commented “Our role in supporting and improving the work of the legal team representing the claimants worked very well, and we feel that we have made some real inroads in building legal capacity within organisations via this work by giving them practical assistance in evidence gathering.” They praised the SLF for its effectiveness and quick turnaround and said “we are very pleased that the SLF in its current form exists, and hope that it will continue to do so after its pilot period.”
For more see www.refugee-action.org.uk/news/2012/landmarkruling.aspx.