Scots social workers may get new power

The Home Office has confirmed it is still in talks with the Scottish executive over plans to give social workers powers to prevent forced removal of children whose asylum claims have failed.

The executive, which is uncomfortable with heavy-handed tactics used by immigration staff during removals, is pushing for social workers, doctors and teachers to be allowed to intervene if they believe a child’s health or wellbeing would be harmed by their removal.

A Home Office spokesperson said “nothing concrete” had been decided on the exact nature of the powers but that it could be included in plans, due to be introduced next year, for a lead professional to be responsible for the interests of children of asylum seekers.

The move followed a series of meetings between Scottish first minister Jack McConnell and UK immigration minister Liam Byrne.

At the most recent last week,  Byrne revealed that there are 1,500 failed asylum-seeking families in Scotland, of whom 1,000 have exhausted the appeals process.


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