Human-centred Design in UK Asylum Social Protection

Michelle James, Rachel Forrester-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


This paper considers United Kingdom welfare provision for asylum seekers in the context of social protection scholarship, policy discourse more commonly associated with international development. Social protection definitions are contested, ranging from those focused on state provision to wider interpretations reflecting debates on holistic wellbeing, human rights and self-actualisation. Most recently, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has called for social protection policies for all citizens to reduce inequality among and within countries. Though there is exigency to reduce the extreme inequality existing between countries, literature is lacking on how social protection can be used to critique inequality within more economically affluent nations. Commentaries on social protection also tend to focus on economic poverty, with less attention given to vulnerabilities such as marginalisation. Literature suggests that UK asylum welfare provision is based on deterrence, control and marginalisation. In response, and to encourage equity in how all countries’ public policy is assessed, this paper utilises an international social protection framework to critique UK asylum welfare provision. It concludes by advocating for transdisciplinary, human-centred and comprehensive social protection policy design, encouraging participation by a wider range of stakeholders and a holistic understanding of wellbeing to meet asylum seekers’ needs effectively and efficiently.
Original languageEnglish
Article number387
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number9
Early online date29 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by European Social Research Council grant number 149376688 and the APC was funded by UK Research and Innovation.


  • 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • asylum seeker
  • deterrence policies
  • inequality
  • marginalisation
  • refugee
  • social policy
  • social protection
  • well-being
  • wellbeing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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