Immigration policy development
In 2009 we piloted an electronic appointment system for asylum applicants seeking legal advice. We aimed to test whether we could replace our paper based rota system with a web based system. This would better reflect provider availability and increase applicants' ability to access legal advice early in the asylum process.
Providers upload appointments onto the system, which clients then choose based on the date/time and their distance to the provider.
Three pilots of the system have been run to date in
- Wales & South West;
- North West of England
- Yorkshire and Humberside
Each pilot involved collaborative working between the LSC and organisations such as Welsh Refugee Council, The Refugee Council and UK Borders Agency.
The evaluations of the Wales & South West, and North West pilots are in the Related Documents section of this page. The Yorkshire and Humberside evaluation will published shortly.
Building on the success of the pilots, we have now implemented the system in Wales and the South West.
Future of the system
A new version of the system, incorporating changes suggested during the three pilots, is being developed by First Assist. Following user testing, this new system should be launched in Wales and Leeds in early 2011.
The system will also be launched in Liverpool in the New Year, with the Refugee Council acting as operators.
In addition, working with the UK Border Agency, we aim to test the system in the Asylum Screening Unit in Croydon. This will allow asylum applicants to make an appointment with a legal representative at the point at which they claim asylum, helping ensure they access advice as early in the asylum process as possible.
Appointments will be offered to any applicant, regardless of whether they have their own accommodation, anywhere in England and Wales (outside of London). Currently we do not plan to operate the system for applicants resident in London due to the large volume of providers in the region.
The system will allow clients to take into account the proximity of the representative, their gender and also the time/date they are available.
We will continue to provide updates on the use of the system on this page.
This work represents significant strides in ensuring increased access to legal advice for some of the most vulnerable members of society by providing greater opportunity for early advice to be given.
If you would like to know more about the Pilot, please Contact the Immigration Policy team.
Coinciding with the start of the 2010 Standard Civil Contract, the Early Legal Advice Pilot also began on 15 November.
The pilot follows joint working between the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and the LSC in developing a proposal for improving the quality of asylum decisions and encouraging efficiencies and cost savings across the asylum system.
These concepts were previously tested in an earlier pilot in Solihull; however the evaluation of this pilot was not able to reach a clear conclusion as to whether these aims could be met. So the UKBA and the LSC are retesting the proposals, this time across the entire UKBA Midlands and East of England (MEE) region.
The pilot aims to test three constituent elements:
- A ‘pre-interview discussion’ process between the UKBA caseworker and the legal representative - a meaningful discussion to identify key issues and narrow those issues, providing structure and focus for the asylum interview.
- An ‘interactive interview’ - the representative would attend the asylum interview with the applicant to help focus on the key issues, to assist disclosure by the applicant, to intervene where appropriate and to clarify issues as they arise.
- Post interview discussion’ between the UKBA caseworker and the legal representative - to find out what is accepted, what is not accepted and why, to consider what further evidence may be relevant and available, to provide focus for written representations.
All of those LSC providers who hold a 2010 Standard Civil Contract to undertake asylum work in the MEE region can take part in the pilot. All asylum matters routed to the MEE region from 15 November onwards will be subject to this new process.
Guidance on ELAP:
UKBA and LSC have prepared guidance on the process and the roles and responsibilities of case owners and legal representatives within it. The guidance has also had input from UNHCR and Asylum Aid.
The guidance can be downloaded from the Related Documents section of this page.
Evaluation of ELAP:
As part of our evaluation strategy, we must get any data regarding the outcomes obtained by legal representatives, the costs incurred and confirmation of whether any further appeal is to be brought as quickly as possible. Providers in the region should submit, in addition to the normal reporting of cases through LSC Online, a monthly report on the number of cases that received a decision from UKBA the previous month.
A copy of the template report can be found in the Related Document. The first page contains further information on the data required and who it should be submitted to.
To support providers in their normal reporting of cases through LSC Online we have also produced a 2 page summary of which reporting codes should be used when reporting ELAP matters to the LSC. Again, this document can be downloaded from the Related Documents section of this site.
Any questions relating to ELAP matters should be sent to the Immigration Policy Team.
Last updated: 17 November 2010