Senior Policy Officer, UK Resettlement, Asylum & Integration
London (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed unparalleled expertise in responding to emergencies and helping uprooted communities to rebuild. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.
The International Rescue Committee UK is part of the IRC global network, which has its headquarters in New York. The IRC is on the ground in some 40 countries, providing emergency relief, relocating refugees and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster. Through 29 regional offices in cities across the United States, the IRC also helps refugees resettle in the US and become self-sufficient.
The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The IRC is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable.
IRC UK was established in London in 1997 to support the organisation’s global activities and particularly to diversify its donor base and be able to better advocate with European policy-makers on behalf of the people we serve. IRC UK comprises approximately 150 staff. Europe is one of the fastest growing regions for the IRC and currently consists of offices in Germany, Belgium, Sweden, the UK and Switzerland. IRC also runs programmes across five countries in Europe and provides technical assistance to more than 10 others.
The Policy & Advocacy Team
The European Policy and Advocacy Team, headed by the Executive Director IRC Belgium / Senior Director Policy & Advocacy Europe, consists of 14 staff based across the UK, Belgium and Germany. The core purpose of the Policy and Advocacy Department is to increase the IRC’s profile and influence, developing the IRC as a thought leader in Europe that can drive transformational policy change in the humanitarian and development sector. We aim to improve outcomes for people living in, and displaced by, conflict and crisis. The team works closely with IRC’s global teams of policy analysts and advocates based in Washington DC, New York, Geneva, Amman and in other priority countries and regions.
The Refugee Integration in Southeast England (RISE)
Through the IRC’s new RISE programme, for the first time the IRC is supporting refugee integration in the United Kingdom, by empowering refugees with the tools and capacity to actively engage in their new communities in Southeast England. The RISE programme supports refugees in Hampshire and West Sussex to achieve economic independence, increase the capacity of local refugee service providers and build community awareness to create a more welcoming environment for refugees. The IRC will complete an analysis to examine the current resettlement, asylum and integration context in the UK. As part of the analysis IRC will meet with peer organisations / NGOs and refugee leaders/ refugee led organisations and assess the policy, legislative and political context to identify unmet needs and identify where IRC is best placed to speak out and/or drive changes to improve the situation for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.
The Purpose of the Role
The Senior Policy Officer, UK Refugees & Asylum will drive IRC’s positioning on key areas such as the resettlement, asylum and integration agenda, drawing on existing materials from our advocacy in other European capitals and the US, from knowledge and relationships in the UK refugee and asylum sector, and developing specific recommendations for the UK context. The position will link policy with programmatic evidence generated from the RISE project and will work closely with the UK advocacy colleagues to develop policy to respond to influencing opportunities. They will be responsible for developing policy and parliamentary briefing papers in key areas to help build IRC’s profile with decision-makers at parliamentary, political and policy level as a go-to organisation on these issues. The Senior Policy Officer, UK Refugees and Asylum, will collaborate with other NGOs to influence the UK Government's policy and practical approach to asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. This work would include facilitating and supporting wider work with MPs and the UK Parliament, local councilors as well as supporting media and communications work around making refugees welcome in the UK. This role will manage relationships with private sector supporters, such as the founding group of the Business Refugee Action Network (BRAN), maintain quarterly updates to subscribers to the newsletter and support opportunities for business led advocacy in the UK.
Scope and Authority
- Represent IRC externally in relation to policy and advocacy events, coordination and logistics.
- Manage contractors and suppliers for communications and advocacy products and events.
Key Working Relationships
- Reports to the Policy Director and dotted line reporting to the Advocacy Director
- Work together with the Policy, Advocacy, RISE and Communications colleagues in the UK, Europe, New York, Washington DC, and key regions to help develop clear and succinct policy messages and products
- Close coordination with other External Relations teams (communications and private fundraising) to deliver coherent and consistent messaging to our external audiences
- Track national policy developments and media coverage about policies impacting asylum seekers and refugees within the UK and the agencies responding to their needs
- Conduct research on local and national level policies and procedures, and related issues, impacting the delivery of services and the rights of asylum seekers and refugees within the UK
- Develop recommendations and policy messages for the UK context, using evidence from and ensuring full alignment with, the RISE project, existing materials from our policy in Europe and the US as well as policy positions developed jointly by representatives of the UK asylum and refugee sector.
- Produce policy briefing papers and parliamentary submissions in key areas to build IRC’s profile with decision-makers at parliamentary, political and policy level
- Represent IRC in relevant UK asylum and refugee sector coalition meetings as well as meetings with political and policy stakeholders.
- Help develop and manage strong working relationships with a diverse range of allies and stakeholders, including international and national NGOS, local government and private sector actors (including the BRAN founding organisations) operating within the UK
- Draft content for policy and communications materials including one-sheets, briefing packs for high-level visits, talking points for high level meetings, press releases and other updates and reports for advocacy, communications and media purposes on RISE and other agreed priorities
- Assist the exchange of information between the policy and advocacy team, and the RISE team to keep both parties up to date
- Ensure all activities contribute to advancing IRC UK’s commitments on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
- Monitor and record IRC UK’s impact with advocacy targets on agreed projects and objectives
- Additional research support to the Policy Director as required
- Additional support to the teams as required
Events and communications
- Provide content for communications material including RISE updates, website, 2-pagers, social media and BRAN quarterly newsletter.
- Identify and, where appropriate, participate in priority private sector networks, charity groups and national forums in the UK to deliver policy change and raise awareness on RISE and other priority areas.
- Directly manage suppliers for the design and production of policy and communications products