NOREAM - The No Recourse Early Action Model


Lora Evans

Refugee Action

Local authority support for children and families with NRPF has often focused on crisis intervention after other options have been exhausted. NOREAM is an attempt to improve outcomes for children and families by adopting early action within social work practice as well as bringing to that practice, an awareness of how poverty and exclusion can be understood through the lens of (statutory) neglect (NOREAM, 2021).

"NOREAM is a way of working with children and families with NRPF to improve outcomes for children who are subject to immigration control. This will be achieved in two interlinked ways: First, by reorienting local authority NRPF services to apply the principles of early intervention to an NRPF setting, and supporting people to resolve problems before they become crises which meet the threshold for assessment under Section 17 of the Children Act. Second, the project aims to take a whole systems approach, by developing cross-directorate and interagency strategies, which support families across the life course, and instituting multi-professional case consultations. These conferences will use specialist knowledge s to resolve complex cases for families with NRPF where the existing legislative framework does not protect children with a precarious migration status, using a structural understanding of neglect.

Families who do not meet the threshold for section 17 of the Children Act (1989) currently do not receive local authority support. However, evidence suggests that many families who are initially refused support later receive section 17 support from the local authority when their situation has deteriorated to a crisis point. By identifying issues earlier and providing a targeted intervention, the programme will prevent families needing more intensive support later and improve outcomes for children and families" (Andy Jolly, 2021).

Check out the NORAM website to learn more and read about why this project in this blog.

The project has three aims:

  1. Developing a coherent, transferrable and scalable model of ‘Migrant Aware Practice’ for children and families with NRPF.
  2. Reducing numbers of families needing support under section 17 of the Children Act as a result of destitution.
  3. Development of interdisciplinary and multi-agency practice both within the council and with other local partners to improve outcomes for children and families.

These aims are achieved through the following six outcomes:

  1. Reduction in the numbers of repeat referrals of families with NRPF to the local authority.
  2. Reduction in the need for families to depend on local authorities for support and relieving pressure on resources required within the  local authority to support families with NRPF
  3. Improvement in the wellbeing of families with NRPF
  4. Development of a model of practice which could be scaled to other local authorities including:
  5. An open access NOREAM manual which can be used by other authorities
  6. A NOREAM training programme for other authorities based on the manual.
  7. Working papers and articles outlining the NOREAM process and emerging good practice as the programme develops.
  8. Increase in multi-agency support for children and families with NRPF through publication of MAP strategy in each borough.
  9. Better coordination of support for people with NRPF across the different council directorates to reduce the likelihood of people suffering harm or neglect because of their NRPF status (Farmer 2017, Jolly 2018, Oliver 2019).

Our Asylum Early Action work forms part of the evidence base for NOREAM, alongside the longstanding work on prevention by Community Links and the wide-ranging early intervention work with children and young people. We think this piece of work is really important and are keen to follow it's developments, particularly the potential for more local authorities to emulate this approach in the future.