As a result of the Ukraine war’s humanitarian crisis, Birmingham City Council (BCC) expected to receive a number of Ukrainian refugees. However, it lacked specifics on who would be arriving, or when, so could not understand their needs or coordinate support (e.g., health, education, housing). Although it had the policy, it faced practical issues translating it into action. Furthermore, the cost-of-living crisis and ongoing war created a risk of fatigue and a decline in sponsors (i.e., hosts), while guest numbers were rising. In the longer term, the likelihood of guests returning to Ukraine was unknown, making it difficult for the Council to anticipate and plan for future demand.
Failure to address these issues could create a housing crisis for the Council, with insufficient temporary and sponsor accommodation, and service provision, as more refugees arrived. Additionally, where sponsor vetting was inadequate, the Council risked being held responsible for violation of some guests’ human rights. Key to the response, therefore, would be the ability to easily visualise the trend of arrivals, understand where they were in the city, and – in particular – track the safety checks.
PwC’s vision was to help BCC have well-designed services in place, along with the processes, data and reporting to help it deliver the right long-term outcomes for all its refugees. To achieve these objectives, the firm proposed to support BCC’s service design, and develop suitable technology, in the form of a comprehensive, cross-agency Refugee Resettlement Solution.
PwC set out to provide sustainable solutions that would serve the Council’s long-term needs, by both developing flexible technology, and equipping the Council with the skills to adapt it in future, and serve the demands of different groups. PwC organised its work in four separate workstreams, for service design, business and technical analysis, technology implementation and business intelligence.
The team brought together developers and systems architects, business analysts, and experts in Power BI. Using an agile approach, PwC iterated the solution’s design and implementation, and responded quickly to new risks and issues. The technology implementation took the form of a CRM solution for case management, which allows the Council to track and manage new refugee arrivals, and monitor the checks being made to assess sponsor suitability.
The project successfully streamlined the provision of services, and unified the data used by both Council and its main subcontractor. The improved data, and the insights generated, now allow both agencies to allocate resources more effectively, based on a clear understanding of needs. The business intelligence delivered by the solution also helps identify and manage operational risks, such as tracking the status of sponsor checks, and highlighting safeguarding concerns, while providing an audit log that can trace relationship breakdowns.
The improved information and process have equipped the Council to provide a better customer experience, and nurture the relationships that help it support long-term needs of refugees seeking to reside permanently in Birmingham and the UK. This highly rewarding work has made a strong contribution to refugees feeling welcome and safe in our country.
View the PwC profile in the MCA Members Directory.