Issue - meetings
Resettling Syrian Refugees in Oxford
Meeting: 17/12/2015 - City Executive Board (became Cabinet on 13 May 2019) (Item 134)
134 Resettling Syrian Refugees in Oxford PDF 111 KB
The Assistant Chief Executive has submitted a report which provides an update on progress in accommodating Syrian Refugees in Oxford through the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme and seeks approval of proposals to accommodate Syrian Refugees in Oxford.
Recommendations: That the City Executive Board resolves to:
1. approve the participation in the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme for the purpose of settling refugee families in Oxford on the terms set out in the body of the report.
2. delegate authority to the Assistant Chief Executive, to make any necessary arrangements for effective participation within the above Scheme.
- Appendix 1 - Refugee and Asylum Seekers Summary of agreed Motion to Council and actions taken, item 134 PDF 62 KB View as DOCX (134/2) 17 KB
- Appendix 2 Risk Register Refugee and Asylum Seekers 171215, item 134 PDF 30 KB
- Appendix 3 Initial EqIA Refugee and Asylum Seekers 171215, item 134 PDF 120 KB View as DOC (134/4) 61 KB
The Assistant Chief Executive submitted a report which detailed progress in accommodating Syrian Refugees in Oxford through the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme and requested approval of proposals to accommodate Syrian Refugees in Oxford.
Cllr Price, Board Member Corporate Strategy and Economic Development, presented the report. He said that he was pleased to inform the Board that the first two refugee families had arrived in Oxford and were being supported by the City Council and partner organisations. He said that he was able to accept all of the Scrutiny Committee recommendations as they reinforced the City Council’s preferred approach to work closely with partners and the County Council to co-ordinate and strengthen local arrangements for accommodating and supporting Syrian and other refugees.
The Assistant Chief Executive informed the Board that that the neighbouring district councils had expressed an interest in joining the City Council arrangements for resettling refugees. She said that she would bring further updates to the Board and to Council in 2016.
The Board noted the excellent work of Asylum Welcome and other voluntary organisations in accommodating and supporting refugees and asylum seekers. The Board thanked the Assistant Chief Executive and the Policy and Partnership Team Leader for their ongoing work in supporting the refugee programme in the City.
The City Executive Board resolved to:
1. Approve the participation in the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme for the purpose of settling refugee families in Oxford on the terms set out in the body of the report.
2. Delegate authority to the Assistant Chief Executive, to make any necessary arrangements for effective participation within the above Scheme.
Meeting: 09/12/2015 - Scrutiny Committee (Item 67)
67 Resettling Syrian Refugees in Oxford PDF 111 KB
Contact Officer: Val Johnson, Policy & Partnership Team Leader
Tel 01865 252209, email@example.com
The Chair and Vice Chair of the Scrutiny Committee asked for this item to be included on the agenda for pre-decision scrutiny (this item was not on the Council’s Forward Plan when the Committee last met).
Why is it on the agenda?
At the meeting on 17 December 2015 the City Executive Board will be asked to approve the participation in the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme for the purpose of settling refugee families in Oxford. This is an opportunity for the Scrutiny Committee to make recommendations to the City Executive Board.
Who has been invited to comment?
Councillor Price, Leader of the Council, Caroline Green, Assistant Chief Executive and Dave Scholes, Housing Strategy & Needs Manager, have been invited to present this report and answer the Committee’s questions.
- Appendix 1 - Refugee and Asylum Seekers Summary of agreed Motion to Council and actions taken, item 67 PDF 62 KB View as DOCX (67/2) 17 KB
- Appendix 2 Risk Register Refugee and Asylum Seekers 171215, item 67 PDF 30 KB
- Appendix 3 Initial EqIA Refugee and Asylum Seekers 171215, item 67 PDF 120 KB View as DOC (67/4) 61 KB
The Assistant Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council presented a report on progress in accommodating Syrian refugees in Oxford. They provided further updates and answered questions.
The Committee noted:
· There were no unaccompanied minors coming through the VPRS scheme but an increasing number coming through other routes. The County Council social services had responsibility for them. There was a resulting pressure on schools and social services, and a shortage of foster carers, and insufficient support.
· Government funding for the Syrian refugee resettlement scheme was guaranteed for five years on a tapering basis.
· There was less provision in place to support the relatively high numbers of refugees in the city who were outside of the new Government scheme. The Committee suggested that the Council should ensure support was available to these refugees too.
· Asylum Welcome and other voluntary organisations were able to assess and provide for refugee’s needs but need adequate secure funding.
· Oxford had some specific needs in terms of supporting refugees, such as the very high cost and pressure on housing in the city, and the attractiveness of the city as a destination for asylum seekers. The Committee discussed how to source support and opportunities to make the case for additional resources to fund facilities or services for refugees.
· The City Council provided funding to Asylum Welcome but needed to avoid over-committing.
· There was scope to share information and best practice across local authorities and this was being done locally and nationally.
· That when assessing the housing needs of refugees the ‘local connection’ requirement could be interpreted as contact with appropriate refugee support groups in Oxford and this was covered implicitly in the motion adopted by Council on 23 September 2015.
The Committee resolved that the following recommendations be put to the City Executive Board:
· the City Council should continue to work with partners to co-ordinate and strengthen local arrangements for accommodating and supporting refugees, including educational support and language services.
· the City Council should assist the County Council in promoting campaigns aimed at recruiting new foster carers and adopters.
· the City Council should also maintain a focus on the types and impacts of support available to the refugees and asylum seekers in Oxford that did not arrive as part of the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (VPRS).
· the City Council should update local MPs on what the Council is doing to support refugees in Oxford, and engage with them about the challenges and needs that are more specific to Oxford.
· the City Council should look for opportunities to engage constructively with government about the city’s needs and how these can be met, including seeking additional funding to provide specific support services.
· City Councillors should be periodically updated on progress, funding and developments at public meetings.
The Committee thanked officers for their work on this.