• Lead Member Kirklees Council
  • Categories Community

In Kirklees we are developing an approach to empower local community groups to discuss difficult topics with residents that they oftentimes are not comfortable discussing with the Council. This has been very successful with the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and COVID Community Champions scheme.

The EU Settlement Scheme offers indefinite leave to remain for EU citizens who had come to live and work in the UK. A number of issues made this a significant challenge:

  • The online application process, simple for those with biometric ID and comfortable with a computer or smartphone but difficult for those lacking the necessary ID, digitally excluded, or who lack the capacity.
  • The uncertain number of individuals to be reached – estimated by the Home Office at 13,000 in Kirklees – exceeded as in many other places.
  • The COVID pandemic making face-to-face awareness raising impossible.

Missing the deadline carried the risk that some of the most vulnerable people could be deemed to have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) with clear dangers to individuals, landlords, employers and the Council itself.

To address this, the Council began work with Kirklees Citizens Advice and Law Centre (KCALC) to run training and engagement sessions for a range of organisations, including small businesses, educational institutions, and community and faith organisations. It resulted in one of our biggest partnership-wide communication campaigns, engaging over 10,000 people and 900 local businesses.

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