BASW welcomes clarification over third-party child asylum interviews
BASW has been concerned that private companies would be carrying out interviews with those who were seeking asylum and were or claimed to be under 18, without appropriate expertise or staff.
Several months ago, the Home Office announced it was planning on developing a pilot scheme which would see third party providers – for example, firms from the private sector – carrying out interviews to address the backlog of asylum claims.
A proportion of asylum seekers are unaccompanied children; they have needs and legal rights over and above adult asylum seekers. Social workers have specialist expertise in this area and their role in undertaking this work is in enshrined in law.
This prompted concern from BASW and others that private companies would be carrying out interviews with those who were seeking asylum and were or claimed to be under 18 without appropriate expertise or staff - thus watering down this vital service for children and young people and their legal rights.
Working with BASW, Stuart McDonald MP submitted a written parliamentary question to seek clarification from the Government on whether the pilot scheme would include children. Despite this being a named day question, which requires an answer within a week, it took 42 days for the Government to provide a response, which is as follows:
Third party interviewing officers will not be carrying out the interviews of those who are or claim to be under 18 years.
BASW welcomes the clarification from the Government that children will not be part of this pilot.