1. Introduction

This article sets out our ways of working approved by our members at our quarterly meeting in May 2020.

  1. Our membership

We are committed to keeping the bottom-up approach, which fosters collaboration within Detention Forum. This means that we want our members to retain responsibility for endorsing our strategic direction and for taking part in its planning through our co-ordination group and Quarterly Meetings. Overall decision-making power in terms of what the Detention Forum does must remain with our membership.

This is an important principle for Detention Forum. These are easy words to use, but we all need to make sure that they are true. Our co-ordination group needs to keep under regular review what we need to take to our members either at the meetings or via email. And we will consult with our members on a regular basis to see if they feel we are living up to our words.

We value our members who, between them all, have:

  • Lived experience of immigration detention
  • Knowledge of immigration detention
  • An ability to reach out to new sections of our society
  • Professional skills such as in campaigning, communications, Parliamentary, and policy work

Historically our members have met quarterly at meetings in London. We will continue this practice, but we are also keen to develop more regular but shorter meetings on Zoom, and also to explore holding some meetings outside of London to engage with our members outside of the capital.

We are looking to establish working groups and will invite our members to join these new groups. We will look to base them on existing working practices used by our members to encourage maximum participation. We develop this idea in our latest theory of change paper. We are also keen that all of our work, including in the working groups, have strong representation of people with lived experience of detention, and we are eager to consult our members with such experience on how we can make those words more of a reality

We are also very aware that within our membership, we have a lot of great strengths and experience. We will also look to identify those assets so that we all know where we might go for particular input and support.

  1. Our project director

Our Project Director is responsible for ensuring that our Theory of Change is implemented by our members. He is also responsible for shaping the Forum’s overall strategy, developing a workplan, membership management, finance, fundraising, monitoring, public relations and volunteer management.

He conducts advocacy, including parliamentary, policy and communications/ campaign work with co-ordination group members, where these skills are needed. He is also responsible for relationship building with, influencing and advising major stakeholders. He is currently also responsible for all the day-to-day administrative tasks and supports the co-chairs of the working groups.

  1. Our co-ordination group

Our co-ordination group comprises some of our members, who work together to:

  • Co-ordinate the different advocacy activities within the Forum for maximum impact
  • Advise on key spending decisions
  • Advise on the direction for funding bids
  • Advise on our strategic direction

We would like to see all of our working groups being facilitated by co-ordination groups members, so that our CG can really co-ordinate the work of all of the Forum.

In addition, we look for our co-ordination group members to have:

  • Enthusiasm for collaborating within the Forum
  • A real practical desire to get things done

Once we have set up our working groups, and re-convened the co-ordination group, we will do a skills audit of this group to ensure that we have all of the key skills we need to be able to co-ordinate our work.

  1. Our host

We are proud to be hosted as a project at the Refugee Council. We have a management group to ensure the smooth running of this relationship for both our host and for us. This group focuses on the administrative aspects of our work.

  1. Review

We will look to review these ways of working on an annual basis.