by Susan van de Ven on 31 January, 2019
Written Question to Council, 5 February 2019
Cllr Susan van de Ven
Cambridgeshire County Council has a statutory obligation to make non-British EU citizens living in Cambridgeshire aware of the need to apply for Settled Status, post-Brexit, in order to secure their right to remain living in the UK; and also, to apply for Settled Status on behalf of vulnerable children and vulnerable adults, although Government has not yet provided a definition of what constitutes a vulnerable adult.
A resident in my division who might be designated as a vulnerable adult has endeavoured to apply for Settled Status in the public test phase that commenced on 21 January. This process has highlighted procedural points of concern, and questions about who should be considered a vulnerable adult.
The resident is a German citizen 80 years of age, resident in the UK for 58 years, divorced from a British spouse, with limited income, a council tenant, no private transport, no Android phone and no computer or internet access.
The application for Settled Status must be done on-line: this can be done via computer rather than smartphone, however required documentation must first be scanned via a Home Office app downloaded onto an Android device with specified features.
The nearest Cambridgeshire Libraries are in Cambridge or Great Shelford, but there are no bus services from this person’s village to either destination. Nevertheless, once at a library, help would be required to set up a first-time email account and help with navigating a computer and internet, in order to work through a lengthy and complex application process.
In this person’s case, a neighbour offered to help scan required identity documents with his Android phone, but could not successfully download the app (in common with experience reported by Addenbrooke’s when its non-British EU employees went through the pilot phase in Nov-Dec 2018).
If an applicant cannot complete document scanning via an Android device, he or she needs to visit an EU Settlement Resolution Centre, of which there are none in Cambridgeshire. The nearest to South Cambridgeshire is the Hertfordshire Register Office in Hatfield, but this person has no access to transport to reach the centre. Once at the centre, the service provided would be limited to the scanning of documents. The application process would then need to be resumed on line at a library or private computer.
This person’s experience raises the following questions:
How will the Council identify its vulnerable adults?
Will the Council adopt its own compassionate definition of vulnerable adults to include people who are frail, isolated and on limited income?
In addition to the waiving of library internet charges, what steps can the Council take to facilitate the ability of EU residents to access and complete the application process for Settled Status?2 Comments