PAFRAS: Experiments
Problem
PAFRAS is the main project in Leeds providing direct support to destitute asylum seekers. The majority of the people we work with have had a final, negative decision on their asylum claim and as a result either are; or are at risk of experiencing; poverty, destitution and homelessness.

Many of our clients are unable to meet their essential needs for shelter, food and clothing; living so precariously compounds with previous trauma and impacts upon their physical and mental wellbeing. Their circumstances mean they are at increased risk of exploitation and the ongoing threat of detention and deportation hangs over them.
Experiment 1
Our Senior Caseworker has qualified with OISC at Level 2 and is undertaking regulated work at this level to help people to explore and understand their options.

Clients can receive immigration advice, advice and support with building Fresh Claims and onward referrals to a partner legal firm to submit. We have created a referral framework for our Destitution Caseworkers and caseworkers in partner organisations, for example, the British Red Cross, to help identify and filter cases for this higher level advice.
Impact
A female client approached PAFRAS for destitution support. She had over-stayed her visa and had been in the UK unlawfully for around 2 year. She was pregnant and in a relationship with a British Citizen. Our Destitution Caseworker identified that the relationship potentially involved domestic violence.

After the birth of her child, a British Citizen, our client separated from her partner and was referred to the Senior Caseworker for legal advice. We took detailed instructions on her background, circumstances in her country of origin and on her situation since arriving in the UK. These instructions revealed a history of exploitation in the UK and highlighted her potential vulnerability to future exploitation and subjective fear of return to her country of origin.

The Senior Caseworker provided her with advice on claiming asylum and the Refugee Convention and making an application under Article 8 of the ECHR, on the basis of her daughter's rights. Our client then contacted the Home Office to lodge a claim. As Legal Aid lawyers are not able (or not willing) to open legal help matters where an asylum claim has not already been lodged, getting this advice prior to a claim would have otherwise been difficult. Additionally, her existing relationship with PAFRAS and the trust built up by her Destitution Caseworker helped make her more receptive to the advice provided by the Senior Caseworker. This was particularly important as we were concerned that she was vulnerable to exploitation and her situation as a new mother made her doubly so.
Experiment 2
We have restructured our Casework Model to introduce three levels of Casework; noncomplex, complex and OISC Level 2 immigration advice. The three tiers will increase capacity, manage the demand by filtering and responding to advice needs and hone specialist skills. Under the new model we have created the Senior Caseworker role who is OISC Level 2 accredited and line manages the Destitution Caseworkers.

The Casework Team work in partnership with a specialist legal project to recruit, train and support a team of 4 Casework Volunteers. Each client has a named Caseworker and moves between the three levels of advice as needed and under supervision of their Caseworker. The Senior Caseworker chairs weekly case conferences with the Casework Delivery team and the Mental Health Assessment Worker. The Case Conference is an opportunity to review the new cases that have been picked that week, discuss cases where there is a concern around safeguarding, mental health, health, housing or support and together the team will agree a course of action. The Case Conference is also used to ensure that new clients have been met by the Mental Health Assessment Worker.
Impact
To be seen