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
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
. 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.'