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2.8 Families with No Recourse to Public Funds

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

People who have no legal entitlement to financial support or assistance from the state are people who have No Recourse to Public Funds. They may self-refer for support or are referred from other agencies. This document sets out how Leeds Children’s Social Work Services will respond to Families with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRtPF).

RELATED DOCUMENTS

(See the Resources and Forms Library).

  • Terms of Reference – No Recourse to Public Funds Panel;
  • Guidance – Essential Information required in advance of the NRtPF Panel;
  • Template to provide Essential Information required in advance of the NRtPF Panel;
  • Home Office Evidence and Enquiry Request pro forma for LA and other agencies.

This chapter was added to the procedures manual in December 2016.


Contents

  1. Contact Made to the Front Door when a Family may have No Recourse to Public Funds
  2. Habitual Residence Test
  3. Duty and Advice
  4. Child and Family Assessment – 10 Day Assessment
  5. No Recourse to Public Funds Panel
  6. Rates of Financial Support
  7. Contacting the United Kingdom Border Agency
  8. Decision Whether 45 Day Child and Family Assessment Required
  9. Child in Need Plan


1. Contact Made to the Front Door when a Family may have No Recourse to Public Funds

When a contact is made to the Front Door and the reason is because a family or a parent carer have a child and may have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRtPF), the first consideration should be to establish if they are a UK / European Economic Area (EEA) national. The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

The following countries are in the European Economic Area:

Austria Greece The Netherlands
Belgium Hungary Norway
Bulgaria Iceland Poland
Cyprus Republic of Ireland Portugal
Czech Republic Italy Romania
Denmark Latvia Slovakia
Estonia Liechtenstein Slovenia
Finland Lithuania Spain
France Luxembourg Sweden
Germany Malta UK

Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market - this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.

If the family are EEA nationals, they are usually not NRTPF.


2. Habitual Residence Test

However, where people are not able to find work and may want to claim benefits, they may not be able to do so because they do not pass the Habitual Residence Test (HRT).

The HRT is carried out on most EEA nationals who apply for benefits. The habitual residence part of the test is also carried out on some UK nationals who have been living or working abroad. However, UK nationals automatically have the right to reside so don't have to satisfy the right to reside part of the HRT. To satisfy the test you must show:

  • You have a right to reside in the UK. This means you have a right to live here; and
  • You intend to settle in the UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands or Ireland (the Common Travel Area) and make it your home for the time being. This is known as habitual residence.

Even if a claimant can show that they have a right to reside, they may still need to show that they are habitually resident.

They will be asked questions to find out if they satisfy the HRT. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will then decide whether they have a right to reside and, if they decide that the person does, they will then decide whether they are habitually resident. If the person does not satisfy the test, most means-tested benefits will be refused.

Children’s Services will advise that they should return to their country of origin within the EEA. However, if they do not do so, and remain here without funding, they would be NRTPF. As such Children’s Services would have responsibility to a child as they would be a child in need under Section 17 Children Act 1989.

For more information on the Habitual Residence Test, please see the Citizen’s Advice Bureau Website.


3. Duty and Advice

Duty and Advice should carry out their usual enquiries and take any required action but also direct the family to the benefits agency to investigate if they have recourse to any welfare benefits and advise that they are able to seek work. Duty and Advice will make any relevant referrals to the relevant cluster social work team based on their early assessments. They may also decide that the child’s needs can be met though early help services.

If the family are not EEA nationals, or do not pass the HRT and do not return to their country of origin, Duty and Advice will refer to the relevant cluster social work team for assessment under s17 Children Act 1989.


4. Child and Family Assessment – 10 Day Assessment

On receipt of the assessment, a decision needs to be made by the cluster social work Team Manager whether it is necessary to make immediate arrangements for emergency accommodation and maintenance funded through s17 pending the Child and Family Assessment.

These immediate arrangements can include providing emergency housing to stabilise the situation. It should be clarified with the parent carer and recorded in case notes on Mosaic that by doing so, we are not committing to longer term funding.

This emergency funding must only be provided for a maximum of four weeks. The Social Worker must present the case to the No Recourse to Public funds Panel before the four weeks has expired. The aim will be for all cases to be funded for the duration of the 10 day Child and Family Assessment only. For more information please see Section 5, No Recourse to Public Funds Panel.

A soon as s17 funded immediate arrangements are put in place, the Team Manager will open a 10 day Child and Family Assessment. Any s17 financial expenditure must be correctly coded as: ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’.

The Team Manager will allocate a Social Worker to carry out the 10 day Child and Family Assessment.

As part of the assessment, the Social Worker should refer to the Guidance – Essential Information – NRtPF panel Oct 2016 document. This guidance provides all the information that the panel will need to know to make recommendations about whether the section 17 funding should continue.

The guidance states that the Social Worker must ask the parent carer to show them any identification documents such as: passports, visas, certificates. The document(s) provided should be photocopied and presented to the panel.

Parent carers should be advised that if they do not provide the requested information, the Local Authority will not be able to provide them with any further financial assistance.


5. No Recourse to Public Funds Panel

The Social Worker will be advised by their Team Manager or relevant Service Delivery Manager that they must present the family for discussion at the next No Recourse to Public Funds Panel. To do this, they should contact the panel administrator. The panel meets monthly. More information is available in Terms of Reference – No Recourse to Public Funds Panel.

They will be asked to provide the information and evidence and to complete the Template Essential Information NRtPF document. This includes providing photocopies of key documents as set out in the guidance.

A panel slot will be provided which the Social Worker (and if possible their Team Manager) should attend. The panel and the Social Worker will discuss the needs of the family and their circumstances. Where more information is required, the worker will be asked to come back to panel with the full details.

The panel will decide on the eligibility for continuing support through s.17.

If the family are not eligible for Children’s Services funding, i.e. there is no obligation to support, the panel will advise the Social Worker to direct the family elsewhere according to the circumstances.

If the panel decide that the family are eligible for continuing support, the Social Worker will be advised to ensure that their welfare needs are addressed. This is likely to include arranging more suitable housing; considering what financial support is needed; and ensuring that the child/ren are on a school roll or linked in with a children’s centre.

The panel will advise the Social Worker to take steps to resolve the family’s legal status and identify key tasks and actions.

The panel may advise the Social Worker to make an enquiry to the Home Office using the Evidence and Enquiry Request Pro forma which should be sent to: evidenceandenquiry@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

For assistance in completing the form or advise tel: 0208 196 3000.

Depending on the legal advice provided, the panel will set a review date to come back and report on progress against the actions. This will include progress on resolving the situation.

Where a family is reviewed by the panel, the Social Worker will need to provide an updated Template Essential Information NRTPF. They will also need to provide any proof documents that have not previously been provided to the panel. Usually, the Social Worker is not required to attend the panel for the review. However, the panel chairs will decide this and let the Social Worker know accordingly.


6. Rates of Financial Support

There is no legislation or government guidance that sets out the rates at which financial support (subsistence) should be provided to a family when a local authority has a duty to meet the needs of a child under section 17 Children Act 1989.

The courts have held that a local authority is responsible for deciding what level of services are appropriate to be able to meet a child’s needs in order to safeguard and promote their welfare, in line with its duties under section 17 Children Act 1989. However, this decision may be challenged if it is irrational, or incompatible with the human rights, or rights under European law, of those affected by the policy.

When determining the amounts of subsistence that should be provided, local authorities need to be mindful of their legal duties, what destitution means, relevant case law and the current benefit and asylum support rates.

Leeds City Council has decided to provide financial support in line with the National Asylum Service. This information is available from the No Recourse to Public Funds panel administrator and is provided initially when the first request to panel is made.


7. Contacting the United Kingdom Border Agency

The Social Worker should liaise with the LCC legal representative on the panel to make an early notification to UKBA to inform them that Leeds is providing funding and request that their applications are fast tracked.

Enquiry of the Home Office

The Social Worker will ensure that an enquiry is made to the Home Office using the Evidence and Enquiry Request Pro forma which should be sent to: evidenceandenquiry@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

For assistance in completing the form or for advice tel: 0208 196 3000

Form of Authority

If the parent has a solicitor or other legal representation, the Social Worker must ask the parent carer to sign a consent form, Form of Authority. By signing the Form of Authority, the parent carer is authorising their solicitors to release to Children’s Services, Leeds City Council the following:

  • Information relating to the person’s Immigration Status;
  • Details of any application made to UKBA and any correspondence relating to it;
  • Details of any Judicial Review brought with regard to their application to UKBA;
  • Any other information as may be requested that is relevant to Leeds City Council’s Assessment of Needs.

Once the Form of Authority has been signed, the Social Worker should send it to, and make an enquiry to the parent carer’s solicitor. The Social Worker should advise the solicitor of the assessment completion date and request a response in time to inform the recommendations of the assessment.

If the parent carer has no legal representation, it is in everyone’s best interest that they do so. The Social Worker should provide advice on this.


8. Decision Whether 45 Day Child and Family Assessment Required

The Team Manager should record the completion of the 10 day Child and Family Assessment and that the Social Worker will present at the No Recourse to Public Funds Panel.

If there is more information to gather, the Team Manager should record a decision that a 45 day Child and Family Assessment should be carried out.


9. Child in Need Plan

The focus of the Child in Need plan should be about resolving the situation so that there is a clear plan to:

  • Support the family to access public funds (if they are entitled to them);
  • Conclude any application made to UKBA; return to their home country; or
  • Other actions so that they no longer have the status of No Recourse to Public Funds.

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