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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.
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.