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COSLA AND SCOTTISH REFUGEE COUNCIL LAUNCH COMPREHENSIVE GUIDANCE ON DEALING WITH ASYLUM SEEKERS

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Comprehensive guidance for Scotland's councils on dealing with asylum ...
Comprehensive guidance for Scotland's councils on dealing with asylum

seekers was published today by COSLA.

The model policy/guidance for councils document was launched by COSLA

president, Keith Geddes, and Sally Daghlian, chief executive, Scottish

Refugee Council, at the start of a one day COSLA conference `Councils

Support for Asylum Seekers.'

The policy document, developed in partnership by COSLA and the

Scottish Refugee Council, will give Scotland's councils extensive

guidance on dealing with asylum seekers.

COSLA's model policy/guidance was produced because it was felt that a

Scotland- wide policy had the following advantages:

. councils can ensure that their actions are consistent with their

legal responsibilities towards refugees and asylum seekers

. councils can be assured that their actions meet the terms of the

special grants which provide reimbursement from government for council

expenses in assisting asylum seekers

. councils can be assured that they are employing a Best Value way of

meeting their responsibilities in their authority and that this is

consistently the case across the country, thus avoiding inequities and

conflict

. COSLA will be able to act for councils in agreeing arrangements for

reimbursement of expenses with the Scottish Office and in negotiating

over difficulties as they arise, with the assurance that they are

representing all councils in this matter

. councils will honour their commitments to the Scottish Refugee

Council's Declaration on Refugees. This Declaration has been approved

by most councils and endorsed by COSLA

. a Scotland-wide policy commitment will benefit race relations and

understanding in Scotland and will promote Scottish local government

within the UK, Europe and internationally.

Commenting after the launch, cllr Geddes said: 'Scottish people

and Scotland's councils have a long and honourable tradition of

welcome and respect for people who settle here from other countries.

Asylum seekers are particularly deserving of welcome and support

during the time that they are awaiting decisions on their cases.

'I am very pleased that we have been able to work in partnership with

the Scottish Refugee Council and with the Scottish Office to ensure

that the arrangements we have in place in Scotland, are sensible and

humane but at the same time represent best value.'

Sally Daghlian, chief executive, Scottish Refugee Council said:

'These guidelines have significance beyond Scotland and demonstrate

how local government can play a positive role in meeting the UK's

legal and moral obligations towards refugees.'

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