The impact of COVID-19 on No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

Published 14 July 2020 / By COMPAS Communications

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A new policy and research briefing for the Inclusive Cities programme analyses the impact of COVID-19 on people subject to the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) condition and the consequences for local authority provision in the context of their work on integration and inclusion.

The 12 UK Inclusive Cities identified NRPF as a key policy challenge for integration and inclusion in their post COVID planning.

The brief collates existing research findings and feedback from the cities to understand:

  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the NRPF cohort
  • Likely increases in both the NRPF cohort and those seeking support from the local authority
  • Significant changes in the ways that local authorities are supporting people subject to the NRPF condition in response to the pandemic

Analysis of the impact of the COVID pandemic looks at the risk of both contracting COVID-19 and having worse clinical outcomes following COVID-19 infection, but also of indirect health impacts due to the pandemic and the likelihood of facing more severe socioeconomic consequences as a result of the pandemic. The analysis highlights significant risks in relation to the role of inadequate and overcrowded accommodation as well as concerns over access to health care. This is compounded by the research evidence on disproportionate impacts of COVID for BME communities and the significant role of destitution within the NRPF cohort.

The analysis then looks at the consequences for local authorities setting out a number of potential changes in groups requiring support as a result of the pandemic, including:

  • A shift in provision focussing on single homeless adults as part of the ‘everyone in’ policy, with a lack of clarity as to the legislative framework for this support and the long term plan for the provision.
  • A potential change in the profile of people requesting support from social services as support schemes such as the ‘furlough’ scheme close, identifying previously hidden populations such as those with Leave to Remain with NRPF in precarious employment or industries
  • The intersection of the COVID-19 pandemic with changes in the immigration system following Brexit, in particular the risk that those eligible but who have not applied for the EU Settled Status will, in the medium to long term, become subject to the NRPF condition and therefore a significant additional cohort

The briefing outlines the policy consequences and implications for local authorities in a number of areas including:

  • Taking account of the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 and mainstreaming this into practice
  • Reviewing communications and access to information for those subject to the NRPF condition
  • Adequately planning for the long term consequences of stepping down the ‘everybody in’ policy and potential changes in requests for support from social services
  • Identifying changes to the NRPF national policy framework and wider immigration policy which would support local authorities to meet the needs of their residents and communities

Each of the 12 participating local authorities is using the briefing to feed into wider action planning, as set out in the Inclusive Cities Framework - which provides guidance for local authorities in setting out their approach to integration and inclusion at the local level. Work on NRPF supports their action to mainstream and build inclusive public services throughout the city through developing services which are inclusive by default, working to provide equitable access to services for all newcomers where ever this is within the capacity of the local authority.

The NRPF briefing is the first in a series of new briefings which look at how local authorities are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of integration and inclusion.

The Inclusive Cities COVID-19 Research and Policy Briefings which are produced under the Inclusive Cities programme as part of its response to COVID-19.