This project was borne out of a concern that people with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) were being left out of the measures to protect people from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the instructions from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to ‘bring everyone in’ (MHCLG, 2020), the authors found from their own practice, and from the experience of others, examples of situations where both families and single adults were being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
The key findings from the research project are:
- There was a lack of information available for people with NRPF: Only 5 of the 151 local authorities in England had publicly-available NRPF policies which were accurate, up to date and contained referral contact details. More than 40 percent of local authority websites did not contain any information at all about NRPF. Only 7 percent of local authority websites surveyed in April had information on COVID 19- related support for people with NRPF. When the survey was repeated a month later, this number had increased to 12 percent. 6 out of 10 organisations who responded to the call for evidence had not received updated information from their local authority since the start of the pandemic.
- Numbers of service users with NRPF who had COVID-19 symptoms were relatively small, but those who did have symptoms were particularly likely to die or become seriously ill: More than half of organisations that responded to the call for evidence knew of service users who had been diagnosed with COVID-19. Although most knew of relatively small numbers who were experiencing symptoms, of those who did, more than half had become seriously ill or died.
- People with NRPF struggled to access food, shelter and subsistence support during the pandemic: The most commonly reported impact of the pandemic was not having enough food. More than 8 out of 10 organisations identified this as a concern for their service users. The most commonly reported difficulty across all user groups was being refused support from the local authority. For those already accessing support, the most commonly experienced difficulty amongst children and families was inadequate accommodation for self-isolation. For adults with care needs, it was being unable to get in contact with the local authority. For homeless adults, the most commonly reported problem was having no provision made for their food or subsistence needs.
Read the complete findings here: Local Authority responses to NRPF – August 2020