SOAS Detainee Support Group works on a non-hierarchical basis. All initiatives come from the passion of individual members and their ability to self-organise with the rest of the group using consensus decision-making. While the group has several elective positions embers can hold, all decisions are taken together in our weekly meeting and through electronic communication. The official positions are as follows:


This is one of the positions we have to officially have to be a SOAS society. Their tasks are to:

  •   Manage the group’s room-bookings
  •   Be the main point of contact with the Students’ Union
  •   Attend the UGM’s to represent SDS and/or make sure another member does
  •   Have an overview of the society’s activities in order to act as an effective representative
  •   Ensure the weekly meetings are facilitated properly


This is one of the positions we have to officially have to be a SOAS society. Their tasks are to:

  •      Ensure the smooth running of SDS’ internal communication, with regards to the email lists, weekly meetings and the SDS newsletter
  •      Oversee weekly meetings minutes are taken and distributed


This is one of the positions we have to officially have to be a SOAS society. Their tasks are to:

  •      Have an overall overview of SDS’ annual expenditure
  •      Set the budget for the organisation for purposes of the SU and/or other sources of funding
  •      Be in charge of reimbursements
  •      Communicate to the SU and or other funding organisations about the group’s financial situation

Visiting Coordinators

  •      Co-ordinate the practical side of visiting, including checking train times, purchasing tickets, communicating with visitors about visiting times
  •      Help the visitors prior to their visits with preparation
  •      Communicate with the Paid Coordinator about the progress of the visits and visitors
  •      Update the electronic database where appropriate
  •      Commit to visiting at one particular time weekly, and finding a suitable replacement when necessary
  •      Support visitors with casework

Well-Being Coordinator

  •      Run monthly well-being sessions
  •      Organise talks and sessions about emotional well-being
  •      Be a first point of call for visitors experiencing emotional difficulty as a result of visiting and where appropriate refer them to a professional organisation/person

Paid Coordinator

Since 2010 we have had the position of Paid Coordinator, and since 2014 this role has been split between two people. This is her/his/their official tasks as stipulated by the contract:

Duties of the Post

You are part of SDS the way any other volunteer members of the group are. You have an equal part in decision making and will work alongside all other members.

You are expected to be very flexible and work together with other members of SDS, some of whom have assumed particular responsibilities, e.g. visiting coordinators.

The aim of your employment is to:

  •   enhance the efficacy of SDS;
  •   make the group’s activities more sustainable and consistent;
  •   strengthen the group’s impact in bringing about change to the current asylum and immigration system;
  •   provide more holistic support to both detainees and volunteers.

Visiting Coordination

You will work alongside the volunteer visiting coordinators, and duties are subject to discussion between the coordinators, but may include:

  •    Manage referrals from detainees, other supporting organisations, individuals and solicitors.
  •    Assign visitors to detainees.
  •    Assist visiting volunteers with casework support and be an easily accessible point of contact for visiting volunteers. The intern might facilitate drop-in sessions for visitors to attend in order to device a plan of action. The intern is not required to undertake aspects of casework support for other visitors except for under exceptional circumstances when the coordinators might be required to either reassign the case to another visitor or deal with the case concerned personally.
  •    Maintain a comprehensive and up-to-date database of all ongoing cases.
  •    The intern is expected to have up-to-date knowledge about the UK and EU asylum and immigration system.
  •    Organise training for visiting volunteers from SDS and other organisations. This includes induction of new visitors and ongoing training for more experienced visitors.
  •    Provide regular updates to visiting volunteers.
  •    Develop training materials and resources for visiting volunteers.
  •    It is for you to decide if you will be visiting.


You will work alongside the volunteer well-being coordinator, and duties are subject to discussion between the coordinators, but may include:

  •    Partner new visitors either with another new visitor or with a more experienced members of SDS.
  •    Develop a feedback and support supervision programme for visitors to address personal difficulties that arise from the work of SDS. This can be done through partnership with other organisations; it does not mean that the intern has to be fully responsible for the running of this programme.
  •    Follow up on visitors when they stop visiting.


You will work alongside the volunteer Treasurer and other volunteers to fund raise for SDS. There is an emphasis on writing grant-applications for future developments within SDS. Duties are subject to discussion, but may include:

  •   Research funding bodies and application procedures for grants to employ a part-time coordinator for SDS in the future.
  •   Keep an overview of the group’s fund-raising activities.
  •   The intern is not solely responsible for writing funding applications or organising fundraising events but is expected to work with other volunteers and be involved in this part of the group’s activities.
  •   Work in coordination with the Treasurer of SDS who holds responsibility over the group’s finances.


  •    Compile a library of resources and contacts to assist the work of SDS.
  •    Work flexibly as a member of SDS and undertake reasonable tasks as required by the organisation.
  •    To assist the smooth running of SDS, working with the volunteers to meet the overall aims and objectives of the organisation.
  •    You will also be required to have an overview of the group’s campaigning, outreach and networking activities.

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