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SESPM Work & Events


SESPM is frequently invited to contribute to consultations. Our approach is to engage our wide partnership through a range of activities including bespoke meetings. We collate aggregate and submit responses covering the broad range of views and experiences of relevant practitioners and policy makers in the South East region.

2018 Consultations

Integrated Communities – SESPM worked with SEEC to submit a joint response to consultation on the Government’s Integrated Communities Strategy Green paper in June 2018.  The response built on a consultation workshop for 50+ local authority and voluntary sector partners in May 2018.

The Future of Resettlement Post 2020 – In response to a request from the Ministry for Housing and Local Government (MHCLG), SESPM consulted with local authorities in the South East on the future of Resettlement programmes post 2020. Three focus groups were held simultaneously, with authorities representing 81% of all authorities participating on the VPRS, and 50% of the authorities not participating at present. A composite report of the focus groups and written responses was submitted to MHCLG in March 2018.

2017 Consultations

Asylum Accommodation Contracts  from 2019 – SESPM has coordinated and submitted separate  responses from local authorities and NGOs to the Home Office ‘Asylum Support Accommodation Transition’ AAST to inform the development of the Home Office exercise to procure the future model for asylum accommodation and support, replacing the existing COMPASS arrangements when they expire in Sept 2019.  We provide an ongoing communication and discussion function through our regional and sub-regional meetings.

Asylum Advice contracts from September 2019 – We are supporting stakeholder engagement throughout the South East on the  Home Office Advise Issues Reporting Eligibility (AIRE); from September 2019 this service will  provide assistance, advice and guidance to asylum support for eligible service users. These functions are currently delivered under the Home Office  Consolidated Advice and Guidance (CAGS) grant arrangement and the Consolidated Asylum Support Assistance Service (CASAS) contract.

South East England Councils provided evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group ‘Refugees Welcome?’ inquiry in 2016. We also coordinated, collated and submitted  a South East regional response  to the consultation on Reforming support for failed asylum seekers and other illegal migrants. (2016) Past consultation responses: SESPM Response to AVR Consultation (March 2015) SESPM Response to ONS Consultation on the Reporting of International Migration Statistics (June 2014) SESPM response to Home Office Consultation: “Tackling illegal immigration in privately rented accommodation” (August 2013) SESPM response to DH Consultation on Sustaining services, ensuring fairness: A consultation on migrant access and their financial contribution to NHS provision in England (August 2013) SESPM response to the Migration Advisory Committee Call for Evidence on the Level of the Annual limit on Tier 2 and Associated Policies (December 2011) Legal Aid, Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders Bill  – SESPM Memorandum (August 2011) SESPM response to Limiting NON EU Consultation (September 2010)


Migrant Health Event

On 30th April 2019, SESPM organised a conference focusing on migrant health in partnership with Public Health England, Brighton and Hove City Council, and an allied group of migrant health practitioners. The overall aim of the conference was to raise awareness of, and inspire responses to, the health and wellbeing needs of migrants living in the South East. In particular, the following topics were covered: an overview of migrant health; working with Roma women on breastfeeding; the role of a health visitor; immunisation; safer surgeries for undocumented migrants, engaging migrant communities effectively, and embedding learning into local systems. A report of the event can be found here. The conference was attended by over 90 people from a range of organisations and sectors, including local authorities, NHS commissioners, primary and secondary care service providers, migrant communities, the voluntary sector, government programme leads, policy leads and researchers. Feedback from attendees was very positive with 91% of respondents saying they felt that overall the day achieved its stated aims, 69% feeling the topics were relevant to them and their work and 72% stating that the work would be helpful for their future work with migrants.

A report of the conference can be found here.

Migrant Health Information Pack

SESPM has partnered with Pubic Health England South East (PHESE) to create a Migrant Health Information Pack for the South East. The pack contains both quantitative and qualitative health data demonstrating changes in the immigrant profile in the South East and its associated health needs. The pack is intended to be used to assist the steer of public health care and services, and as reference material for local actors, leaders, decision makers and policy makers.


ESOL: Supporting resettled refugees with pre-entry ESOL – 12th October 2018 A key challenge facing ESOL practitioners is how to provide language training to those who speak no or very little English, especially to those who may not be literate in their own language. These learners are classified as ‘pre-entry’ level within the UK education system.  Consequently, SESPM commissioned Learning and Work Institute (L&W) to create a pre-entry ESOL guide for practitioners, focusing exclusively on this issue, containing advice such as how to undertake initial assessment and overcome barriers to progression as well as useful resources. To demonstrate how best to use this guide, and also to enable ESOL practitioners to come together, SESPM and L&W held an event on the 12th October 2018 hosted by Surrey County Council.  Case study presentations were given from the Isle of Wight and Oxford City Council demonstrating how they have addressed the challenge of pre-entry ESOL levels including on how to effectively teach English to learners with basic literacy skills from Learning Unlimited.  The learning from the day will contribute to our ongoing engagement with government departments on Refugee Resettlement and Integration. Refugees: An information session for local authorities – 24th September 2018 Local authorities and voluntary organisations often express interest in understanding more about the background of the refugees they are working with. Consequently, SESPM partners with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR to provide cultural orientation days. This event on 24 September 2018, hosted by Guilford Borough Council, was particularly well attended with over 80 people present on the day from local authorities and voluntary organisations across the South East. The UNHCR opened the day, providing a global overview of the world’s refugee situation. Particular focus was given to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and Syria, as these are the areas the UK resettles refuges from under the VCRS and VPRS schemes respectively. The IOM gave insightful presentations into Syrian culture and life in the country pre conflict to current day which were very well received. The presentations covered everything from food, health, education, religion and family life to key cultural differences between the UK and Syria. In addition to cultural understandings, the training provided an oversight into the process of resettlement from initial registration and medical assessment with the UNHCR, to pre-departure cultural orientation and transport to the UK provided by the IOM. This overview helps to provide necessary background information and hopefully to smooth the transition of the last stage of the resettlement process which is their arrival and new beginnings in the UK. South East Migrant Health  Migrant Health Strategic Meeting – 26 March 2015 The Immigration Act of 2014 resulted in changes to access to health services for certain categories of migrant. SESPM members expressed a desire to understand how the changes would be implemented and the roles of different bodies in facilitating the process. To take this forward SESPM hosted a small seminar in March 2015 with key contributors from the Home Office, representatives from health provision (strategic and practitioner), voluntary sector and local authority representatives. The agenda and final report can be found below:

Migrant Health Strategic Meeting – Spring 2013 The entire health system has radically altered in recent years. Clinical Commissioning Groups have replaced PCTs, public health has moved to local authority control and the NHS Commissioning Board has taken up its new statutory functions. What does all this mean for migrant health? SESPM and the Centre for Public Innovation (CPI) organised a joint event in spring 2013 seeking to find out what the changes in the health the landscape mean to health practitioners. Presentations from the event can be found below:


Asylum help workshops

In April 2014 Migrant Help took over the national contract for advising asylum seekers through the asylum process and for helping asylum seekers into the Home Office support and accommodation system. This has meant that their services have been configured into the new Asylum Help package, delivered largely through a national phone line, and there are no longer ‘One Stop Services’ delivered in person in Southampton, Portsmouth and Hastings. SESPM organised two workshops for those connected with delivering front line services to asylum seekers in the South East to understand the new Asylum Help service. These enabled partners to hear from and engage with, Migrant Help about the new Asylum Help system, explore the impact of the changes in Hampshire, assess the provision against local need and identify any training needs. Attendance included advice providers, health practitioners, education providers, housing practitioners, community safety, social services, employment, ESOL, police and community development workers.  These meetings identified a number of key action points, with the agendas below.