COMPAS migrant families online tool

The University of Oxford’s Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) carries out multidisciplinary social scientific research into global migration processes and phenomena. In particular, COMPAS has developed expertise in relation to migration and the labour market, and migration and urban change. They aim to apply their research by developing theory and knowledge, informing policy-making and public debate, and engaging users of research within the field of migration.

In 2015, COMPAS published research findings stating that provisions in UK immigration law to exclude some families from accessing welfare benefits was, in fact, interfering with the requirement placed upon local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of any child in need within their jurisdiction. Following this, and in collaboration with the NRPF Network of concerned practitioners, COMPAS was awarded funding by the Legal Education Foundation to create an online tool aimed at those who advise families in need. Soapbox was commissioned to design and develop this tool.

Soapbox worked with NRPF Network experts to understand the complex legal factors that affect people’s entitlement to welfare support, and then mapped out the different possible routes users could take depending on their role and circumstances – including an additional route for families who might want to use the tool to advise themselves directly.

The tool’s design reflects its function, with users completing questions in easy to understand, clearly delineated steps before reaching a distinct end-point. We also included clickable points of explanation along the route to advise users on technical terms. At the end of the process, users can access structured information about what options could be available in the case they have described; where the information is clearly broken down into sections so as not to overwhelm and make the advice more accessible. Users can also ask for this information to be exported via email, giving them a personal record to refer to.

We were thrilled to learn that the tool has been awarded joint Research Champion at the 2017 Community Integration Awards for its role as a “useful and timely toolkit [that helps] to support agencies, grassroots organisations and local authorities to access accurate information about the most marginalised and vulnerable”.