Integration Star proves a hit

After a successful pilot with the Refugee Council, the Integration Star for refugees is now available for widespread use, with an introductory webinar taking place this February. What’s more, the Star is a great fit with the Home Office’s integration framework, writes Triangle’s research analyst Dr Anna Good.

Designed for refugees needing to build lives in the UK, the long-awaited Integration Star was finally published at the end of 2020. It’s been in development for two years and has undergone a rigorous pilot with the Refugee Council and refugee community organisations that collaborated in the Star’s development. And it’s proven to be a powerfully transformative tool.

Not only has the Star gone down well with refugees and with workers, but it’s also been greeted positively by the Home Office – an important factor for refugee organisations reporting to the department or seeking Home Office funding.

From the outset, the Refugee Council wanted a tool that could map onto the Home Office’s “Indicators of Integration” framework. That was on Triangle’s agenda too – as part of the development process we carry out a detailed literature review that examines the issues affecting the sector. This time the review included each of the domains in the Home Office framework.

The Integration Star

Designed for use with refugees needing support to integrate into their new country and to build a new life there.

The Home Office framework mainly focuses on end outcomes of successful integration, such as work, housing, education and social connection. Within the Integration Star, these and other outcomes form the end point of Star domains. They are  typically realised at the top of the Journey of Change (the model of change that underlies every Star). But the Star also captures important changes in acknowledgement of issues, acceptance of help and attempts to change things. This makes for a nuanced tool that maps the stages refugees go through from getting practical help to building the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to integrate into their new country.

It was important, however, that the Home Office framework did not pre-determine the shape of the Star. That was developed from the bottom up in a series of workshops and expert interviews that teased out the issues for front-line workers and for refugees. As with all Outcomes Stars, what mattered was partnership and collaboration.

The drafting of a Star is a meticulous and lengthy process – if people knew how much detail went into it they would be amazed. The Integration Star had many, many iterations, examining the structure and the content through a number of different lenses.

As research analyst at Triangle, part of my role is to check that the scales have clearly defined stages so that readings are comparable when they are done by different people. I then crunch the numbers from the pilot and check the psychometric properties of the Star to see that it’s academically sound. In addition we put a lot of thought and testing into how the Star worked for different refugee circumstances – refugees who come in on a resettlement programme, and refugees who don’t have resettlement status and typically have been in the UK for longer.

It was encouraging – though by no means a given – that the final version of the Star mapped really well onto the Home Office framework. And Home Office officials have been very positive about the Star, seeing it as a much simpler, more accessible tool for refugees.

One worker from the pilot sums up the prevailing mood: “The Integration Star is a really powerful, clear tool that can visualise a client’s support needs. I think it provokes conversations that highlight support needs that may have otherwise been missed”.

A separate version of the Star, the Planning Star was published last year for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

The Integration Star and the Planning Star are available to all organisations with a Star licence and training is available for workers and managers. Join our Integration Star webinar on 9th February or contact us for more information on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

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Triangle Consulting Social Enterprise is an innovative, mission-led organisation that exists to help people reach their highest potential and live meaningful and fulfilling lives, often in the context of social disadvantage, trauma, disability or illness.

The Refugee Council works with individuals and families to make sure they can live safe, fulfilling lives in the UK after being forced to seek refuge from persecution and human rights abuses overseas.

The development of this Star was part funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

Other organisations taking part in the development of the Integration Star included: RETAS (Refugee Education Training Advice Service) Leeds, Leeds Refugee Forum, Path Yorkshire, Goodwin Development Trust, Humber Community Advice Services (H-CAS), Refugee Action Kingston, Iranian Association, Diversity Living Services, Bahar Women’s Association, Action for Community Development, West Yorkshire Somali Association, DAMASQ, Stepping Stone 4, Leeds Swahili Community.

The Refugee Council reaches for the Star

A major new tool to help refugees settle successfully in the UK is to be made available from this week – the Integration Star.

Created by Triangle, the social enterprise behind the Outcomes Star, in collaboration with the Refugee Council and others, the Integration Star focuses on eight key areas on which successful integration depends.

Triangle director Sara Burns said: “The Integration Star primarily focuses on the means and markers of successful integration, from employment and housing to education and health. It highlights refugees’ strengths, recognises the areas they need more information or support, and records their progress. Most importantly it makes them the centre of their own integration process.”

In a 7-8-month pilot of the new Star, caseworkers from a variety of organisations found that it opened up conversations with refugees on important subjects and gave workers a way in to providing crucial support.

“It really encouraged the client to have more autonomy in the conversation – it brought them to the centre of the discussion”

Case Worker

“The Star provoked conversations we wouldn’t normally have – like social isolation issues”

Case Worker
Man, woman and child walking down the road

Getting to the heart of these issues means refugees can integrate faster and more successfully,.which will help them to rebuild their lives in their new home.

The Refugee Council approached Triangle in 2018 to develop a new version of the Outcomes Star that would support the refugees they work with. They and several community refugee organisations worked closely with Triangle throughout the process, making sure that former refugees were involved all the way along.

Refugee Council Logo

“This is such an important piece of work that feeds into the national strategy for integrating refugees. The Integration Star has already proved itself in a really rigorous pilot – now it can help in supporting refugees throughout the UK to build new lives.”

Sara Burns

"The Star gives organisations that work with refugees an extremely useful tool that can help to shape the support they offer as well as measure progress and impact. Successful refugee integration means that people are enabled to rebuild their lives and become active members of their new communities”

Refugee Council's Head of Integration Andrew Lawton

The Integration Star was published in September 2020 after 18 months of development and launched in October 2020 via the Star Online – the online home of the Outcomes Star.

In addition to the materials created to use the Integration Star, Triangle is producing a range of resources to support its launch, including a webinar to share more information on the development process and pilot.

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Triangle Consulting Social Enterprise is an innovative, mission-led organisation that exists to help people reach their highest potential and live meaningful and fulfilling lives, often in the context of social disadvantage, trauma, disability or illness.

The Refugee Council works with individuals and families to make sure they can live safe, fulfilling lives in the UK after being forced to seek refuge from persecution and human rights abuses overseas.

The development of this star was part funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

Other organisations taking part in the development of the Integration Star included: RETAS (Refugee Education Training Advice Service) Leeds, Leeds Refugee Forum, Path Yorkshire, Goodwin Development Trust, Humber Community Advice Services (H-CAS), Refugee Action Kingston, Iranian Association, Diversity Living Services, Bahar Women’s Association, Action for Community Development, West Yorkshire Somali Association, DAMASQ, Stepping Stone 4, Leeds Swahili Community.

To participate in the Triangle webinar on the development and application of the Integration Star, organisations should contact info@triangleconsulting.co.uk to register their interest.

Triangle developed and published a separate Star for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in 2019 – the Planning Star.

Please contact info@triangleconsulting.co.uk in the first instance to discuss the Integration Star, Planning Star or other aspects of Triangle’s work.