The Detention Forum publishes its strategy document Roadmap for change – how we will challenge immigration detention

The Detention Forum publishes its strategy document Roadmap for change – how we will challenge immigration detention DF strategy Dec 2012 FINAL

The Detention Forum Co-ordination Group is delighted to announce that, on the International Migrants Day yesterday, the Detention Forum endorsed its strategy document, Roadmap for change – how we will challenge immigration detention.  

Between January and October 2012, The Detention Forum undertook a 10-month long Working Groups process, involving 29 organisations, working together to collectively produce and agree on a joint strategy that identifies our advocacy objectives.  The strategy document summarises this process and outcomes. 

The strategy document outlines an overall direction of travel for the Detention Forum for the next few years as identified by those who took part in the process. We aim to turn the Detention Forum into a movement that effectively challenges immigration detention while working towards specific, tangible advocacy goals. The document also explains how the Working Groups process started, an overview of the strategy, summary of each Working Group’s advocacy objective and workplans, and our next steps.

The strategy is composed of three specific advocacy objectives and workplans as prepared by thematic Working Groups.  They are the Vulnerable People Working Group, Indefinite Detention Working Group and Judicial Oversight Working Group.  Their advocacy objectives are as below. 

Vulnerable People Working Group to end detention of vulnerable people (evidence gathering stage)
Indefinite Detention Working Group end indefinite detention (relationship building stage)
Judicial Oversight Working Group end unaccountable decision making over who is released from detention*   (intelligence gathering stage)(*this is subject to rewording). 


The common tenet that runs through these advocacy objectives is that, as the Detention Forum, we want to be able to influence: and this is where the fourth Working Group, the Communications Working Group plays a vital part.  We will therefore work on our communications in order to establish our credibility and have a bigger voice that will influence those who hold power so that we can make the changes we want to see. 

Additionally, the Co-ordination Group will start looking at alternatives to detention issues in order to identify ways that can encourage the government and the UK Border Agency to manage and conclude immigration cases by engaging individuals in the community and without resorting to the use of detention.  The Co-ordination Group will be seeking guidance, information and assistance from in and outside the UK. 

We do not pretend that this strategy outlines our entire plan from start to finish.  The Thematic Working Groups will develop and modify their plans further as they implement their work, and the Communications Working Group has just been able to begun working on some key tools for the Detention Forum.   However, having identified and agreed how we begin to turn the Detention Forum into a movement, it has now become much easier to know what we need to do next. 

Following the discussions and agreements made during yesterday’s Quarterly Meeting, we are now preparing our Terms of Reference, clarifying membership and governance structure, and working on our communications strategy based on the strategy document. 

Ultimately, we would like more organisations and groups to support our work and join in our activities to challenge immigration detention.  We hope you feel excited by this strategy and get in touch with us.  For further information, please contact us at detentionforum(at)

We would also like to thank The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and the Barrow Cadbury Trust for supporting this particular piece of work.  We are also grateful to the LankellyChase Foundation, the Bromley Trust and the Norda Trust for supporting the work of the Detention Forum. 

From the Detention Forum Co-ordination Group members:

Ali McGinley (Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees)

Eiri Ohtani (Detention Forum Co-ordinator)

Gemma Lousley (Detention Advice Service)

Jerome Phelps (Detention Action)

Kate Blagojevic (Detention Action)

Liz Peretz (Barbed Wire Britain)

Maurice Wren (Asylum Aid)

Nic Eadie (Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group)

The list of organizations who endorsed all the proposals and will be part of the Forum’s future decision making process. 

  • Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees
  • Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group
  • UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group
  • Yarls Wood Befrienders
  • Poppy Project
  • Detention Advice Service
  • Dover Detainee Visitor Group
  • Bail Observation Project
  • Campaign to Close Campsfield
  • Barbed Wire Britain
  • Quaker Asylum Refugee Network
  • Churches Refugee Network
  • ReneCassin
  • Detention Action
  • Asylum Welcome
  • Equal Rights Trust
  • Scottish Detainee Visitors
  • African Health Policy Network
  • STAR
  • Music in Detention
  • National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaign
  • Refugee Council
  • Coalition Against Bullington Immigration Removal Centre
  • Migrant Voice

UNHCR, Terrence Higgins Trust and JRS UK are standing aside: while they remain supportive of the proposals are happy for the rest to make the final decision, they preferred not to endorse any proposals.  Additionally, Kent Refugee Help and Bail for Immigration Detainees also took part in the process. 

Postscript: Kent Refugee Help endorsed all the proposals in January 2013.