London RCO Advocacy forum - Refugee Council

London RCO Advocacy forum

The Refugee Council has been awarded funding by City Bridge Trust to support the establishment of a forum to enable Refugee Community Organisations (RCOs) to engage effectively with policy and decision makers in London.


Giving a voice to refugee communities in London

Refugees and people seeking asylum are among the Londoners furthest from power, with their voices very rarely heard by the officials and decision makers whose policies, practices and strategies impact their lives. For too long the unique strengths of RCOs including their reach and insight of what the needs of refugee communities are, have been overlooked .  The creation of the London RCO advocacy forum is a new systems change initiative to enable RCOs to champion the needs of their communities.
Aim of the forum

The forum aims to improve the lives of refugees and people seeking asylum in London by amplifying RCOs’ voices in policy and practice related discussions to achieve positive change. Through the forum RCOs have the opportunity to use their knowledge, expertise, insight and evidence to engage in policy-making discussions and have a say on how existing and proposed policies, practices and strategies affect the lives of refugees and people seeking asylum.

Forum members

The majority of members of the London RCO Advocacy Forum are London-based refugee-led community organisations willing to work together to reduce the reliance on mediation through bigger charities and engage directly with those in positions of power in London. However,membership is also open to a small number of other small and middle-size refugee-supporting charities based in London.

List of current members of the forum
Training for members

Forum members receive support and training in advocacy routes and techniques, how best to use their own evidence and insight in conducting advocacy work, and the benefits of collective action to achieve change.

Forum’s advocacy work

The forum works to:

  • Empower RCOs: by providing them with the best knowledge and expertise they need to engage with policy and decision makers and to participate effectively in policy-making processes.
  • Influence decision makers: by creating an effective and transparent engagement mechanism between RCOs and people in position of power to affect change.
  • Facilitate collaboration: through the co-production of joint solutions and co-design of cross-sector relationships in order to achieve positive changes to policy and practice for refugee communities.

The current work of the forum focuses on two important key policy issues affecting refugee communities: ‘access to legal advice’ for asylum seekers and ‘sustainability of RCOs’. For each of the two issues the forum has developed an action plan to be implemented over the course of the coming months.


The forum is currently governed by a board of seven individuals democratically elected by members of the forum. The board plays a leadership role over the forum’s advocacy work, and it shapes the forum’s strategic directions.

Join the RCO Advocacy forum

Membership is free and is open to London-based refugee-led community organisations and to small and middle size refugee supporting organisations.

Join the RCO Advocacy forum