The idea for The Detention Forum came from the Detention Sub-Group of the Asylum Rights Campaign in July 2009. The Forum was initially used as space for many different organisations to come together, discuss how best to question the government policy of immigration detention and explore a possibility of working together effectively. Increasingly, the Forum’s focus shifted towards planning and implementing joint actions and lobbying activities that aim to influence the government policy of detention.
Its voluntary Co-ordination Group, whose members sit on the group as individuals and have agreed to work collaboratively, is responsible for overseeing its development and delivery. In August 2010, the Co-ordination Group agreed on the statement which set out how they intend to work together and what they want to achieve during its initial stage of development. Having reviewed this developmental stage, the Co-ordination Group finalised its two-year plan in May 2011. You can read Co-ordination Group’s statement here: the statement was given by Liz Peretz at the Detention Forum quarterly meeting on 27 May 2011.
Through these meetings and discussions, the Co-ordination Group identified a group of organisations who wish to work together in a mutually supportive manner. The Detention Forum has been able to take this forward in a more structured and impact-orientated manner to question the immigration detention policy, particularly in the sphere of the Parliament.
In 2012, the Detention Forum participants developed a joint strategy document. (You can read more about it here.) Those who developed and endorsed the strategy carried out a structural review and decided that the Detention Forum should be a membership-based network.
The Detention Forum is now a membership-based network where members work together to deliver the agreed strategy while respecting each other’s difference and expertise. Much of the delivery of the strategy is carried out by Working Groups and the Detention Forum continues to co-ordinate joint actions and lobbying on an opt-in, opt-out basis. At the same time, each individual organisation is free to carry out its own advocacy and campaigning activities.
The Detention Forum’s quarterly meetings are open to all organisations who want to question the legitimacy of immigration detention and want to work together with other organisations. If you would like to attend our meetings, please read information on this page.
The Detention Forum is hosted by the Refugee Council. Its Co-ordinator is Eiri Ohtani, who can be contacted at detentionforum(at)gmail.com. Please follow us on Twitter (@DetentionForum) for more updates
The current Co-ordination Group members are Maurice Wren, Liz Peretz, Nic Eadie, Jerome Phelps, Ali McGinley, Kate Blagojevic, Bill MacKeith, Jonathan Ellis and Eiri Ohtani.
The Detention Forum Co-ordination Group would like to thank the LankellyChase Foundation, the Bromley Trust, the Norda Trust, the Barrow Cadbury Trust and others who have supported our work.