Effecting Policy Change – working with local decision makers at all levels of policy making, aiming to bridge the gap between national lobbying and local activism, and create opportunities for dialogue about how change can happen.
Here we share some illustrations of our work to Effect Policy Change. Want to find out more? We’d love to hear from you so please get in touch with a member of the team!
Through our work to Build Voice and Shift Attitudes, we raise awareness about the things that are affecting people who have come to the UK to seek protection from persecution and begin the process of persuading decision makers to back changes that would improve the lives of people seeking asylum.
We also work alongside local asylum seekers, activists and campaigners to call for specific policy changes that would make the asylum process fairer and more humane and ensure people seeking asylum are treated with dignity and respect. Things like improving asylum decision making; ensuring everyone has access to free healthcare; enough financial support to cover basic necessities; and permission to work so they can support themselves.
Our monthly ‘Be the Change’ Action Update and the Take Action Today section of our website contain the latest petitions, messages to MPs, and calls to direct action. Our growing network of activists regularly contact MPs and Ministers to lobby them to back key policy changes. It works! When diverse voices from across the community join together to call for change, it gives MPs a mandate to take action in Parliament. See the successful campaign to get the Government to re-settle Syrian Refugees for example.
We arrange meetings with MPs in their constituencies to brief them on issues affecting people seeking safety in the local community. For example, we arranged for Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston to meet with United for Change to discuss how people seeking asylum are affected by poverty. We also met Andy Burnham, MP for Leigh and Shadow Secretary of State for Health to raise concerns about healthcare proposals in the Immigration Bill.
We work with local forums like BARA, United for Change, and LARA, City of Sanctuary groups and local support projects to nurture effective and dynamic local campaigns. The most successful of these has been the local Dignity not Destitution campaign; calling on local councils to pass a Motion Against Destitution demanding that the Government reform policies that are leaving asylum seekers homeless and hungry. Thanks to the efforts of local activists, support projects and passionate local Councillors, eleven councils have taken this step to date. Regional Asylum Activism played a leading role in getting these passed in Leeds, Kirklees, Liverpool and Manchester.
We work with people with direct experience of the asylum process to gather evidence and use it to push for policy changes that will improve things. Our submissions to the Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry on Asylum were quoted extensively in the Committee’s report. We produce research to demonstrate where change is needed. For example, our research about ‘Access to GP Services for Refugees and People Seeking Asylum in Salford’ presented compelling evidence about the many barriers to healthcare experienced by people seeking asylum and has led to Commissioners seriously considering investing in a specialist, fit-for purpose, GP service. Click here to access our regional evidence.