A diverse alliance of faith, refugee and civic groups have been working extremely hard over the past 8 months to improve reporting conditions at Becket House reporting Centre, and it is starting to pay off.
What was an hour and half queue on a Monday morning has now been reduced to 20 minutes as many peoples reporting arrangements have been reduced. Also, to mark Refugee Week, Becket House are hosting the “Saving Sanctuary” photography exhibition which tells the story of the Independent Asylum Commission along side stories of those who have fled persecution and British Citizens and where they find sanctuary to escape the hecticness of everyday life.
In September 2009 a group of leaders carried out a listening campaign which identified the issues which could be acted upon. A report was then presented to Tony Smith the then Regional Director for South East London for UKBA and CITIZENS for Sanctuary entered into a dialogue around reporting issues. Since January 2010 the team, have been meeting with Becket House to look at how they can work together to improve reporting conditions as well as working with members of staff to introduce a more relational culture at Becket House.
One of the biggest wins for the team, was to see peoples reporting frequency reduced. The team heard stories from people reporting up to three times a week. This has now been changed, with many people reporting just once a week. The team was also concerned about those waiting in line for up to an hour and half on Monday mornings come rain or sun. Because people are now reporting less frequently, the queue is considerably shorter and 20 minutes is the longest waiting time that people are experiencing.
Becket House also agreed to provide umbrellas so individuals no longer have to wait in the rain, and agreed for Friends of Becket House to serve free tea to the queue every Monday.
Lucky from DRC, who has been reporting at Becket House for many years is one of the volunteers who serves free tea said that “We serve about 70 cups of tea every Monday. It is very popular and the people are very grateful. It has also started people talking to each other in the queue. People tell me that no one ever looks out for them, so they are glad that we are taking small steps to change their experience of Becket House”.
CITIZENS for Sanctuary has also been working with Becket House to provide a more relational culture in the reporting centre. Regular “friends” events will take place, which will encourage members of staff to meet with those who report and members of the local community to ask questions about Becket House and the role that they carry out.
For more information that is being done with other reporting centre’s around the UK please contact email@example.com