Human Trafficking & Exploitation

Humanitarian Protection

EU Exit


Hong Kong Welcome Hub

Scotland's Demographics

No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

Gypsy/Traveller Work

COSLA Survey of Local Authority NRPF Support


As co-owners of the Ending Destitution Together Strategy, COSLA and Scottish Local Government are committed to supporting people across Scotland who are at increased risk of destitution due to No Recourse to Public Funds conditions. This commitment involves supporting households across Scotland, wherever possible, to avoid destitution and hardship.

Action 4 of the Ending Destitution Together Strategy commits partners to strengthening the provision of financial assistance and wider local authority support to destitute families with children and vulnerable adults.

In 2022 COSLA’s Community Wellbeing Board agreed to the introduction of an annual survey of local authorities to build an evidence base on these issues. This data aids understanding of the scope and scale of support needs from NRPF households in Scotland, and the unfunded costs of supports which are delivered as part of statutory safeguarding duties. Further information on the support and assistance local authorities are required to provide can be found here.

Information provided in this release provides high level aggregate data returned by Scottish local authorities for activity between 2020- 2023.

This survey was produced in partnership with the Centre for Migration, Policy, and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford. Data cited here (2020/21 and 2021/22) is incorporated into national research on NRPF provision across the UK.

Due to challenges in collating and reporting data it is understood that the figures presented here are an under reporting of need and support provided throughout the reporting period; as a result, figures here are presented on a minimum/at least basis.


2022/2023 Summary

Now in the third reporting period, the data provided by Scottish LA’s demonstrates a year-on-year increase across both referrals and cases supported.

  • Between 2020/201 and 2022/23 there was a 174% increase in referrals (from 908 to 1583 cases).
  • Between 2020/21 and 2022/23 there was a 260% increase in supported cases (578 to 1503).
  • Across all reporting years, referrals and cases supported primarily related to households seeking support under the Children Scotland Act. In 2022/23 approx. 72% of all cases referred and supported were under Children Scotland Act provisions.
  • Changes in the type of immigration referrals (Table 3) indicate a significant increase in the number of European Economic Area (EEA) nationals with NRPF in 2022/23, reflecting broader policy changes following the UK’s departure from Europe. One large urban authority indicated that EEA cases now make up over half of all supported NRPF households.
  • Reported spending relating to NRPF households rose by £2.4m (Table 4) from at least £5.9m in 2021/22 to at least £8.3m in 2022/23. These costs are currently unfunded and represent significant expenditure to local government budgets.
  • The type of costs incurred changed between reporting periods. In 2021/22, accommodation comprised 86% of reported spend for the year, likely reflecting steps taken under Public Health legislation. In 2022/23 reported spend on housing fell to 57% of total spend whilst staffing increased to 18.4% of total spend, and costs across subsistence, legal and other spend categories also increased.


2022/23 Data Update


Referals (Statutory Duty) 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23
Children Scotland Act 208 (Child)
91 (Adult)
78 (Family)
246 (Child)
97 (Adult)
98 (Family)
516 (Child)
332 (Adult)
285 (Family)
Social Work Scotland Act 64 67 149
Mental Health Act 6 7 11
Public Health Act 369 732 150
Housing Scotland Act 92 96 119
Management of Offenders / / 21
Total 908 1343 1583
Table 1. Reported Referals by Type


Cases Supported (Statutory Duty) 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23
Children Scotland Act 203 (Child)
88 (Adult)
66 (Family)
239 (Child)
96 (Adult)
83 (Family)
506 (Child)
332 (Adult)
269 (Family)
Social Work Scotland Act 63 64 124
Mental Health Act 5 7 11
Public Health Act 91 251 150
Housing Scotland Act 62 71 99
Management of Offenders / / 12
Total 578 811 1503
Table 2. Supported Cases by Type


Immigration Type 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23
Leave to Enter/Remain with NRPF 167 322 140
EEA National 118 281 364
Asylum Seeker 35 67 124
Appeals Rights Exhausted (ARE) Asylum Seeker 6 6 38
Destitution Domestic Violence Concession 11 17 20
Visa Overstayer 30 29 54
Other 72 73 52
Table 3. Referral Breakdown (not inclusive of all cases)


Expenditure 2021/22 2022/23
Accommodation £5,127,415 £4,824,198
Subsistence £480,624 £987,964
Staffing £240,902 £1,541,279
Legal £200,000 £382,489
Other £85,636 £501,744
Total £5,934,777 £8,372,647
Table 4. Cost of Supported Cases to Scottish LAs