UKBA Powerpoint template by HC121104025111


									UK Border Agency Children’s Champion

Lisa Killham

Refugee Council Conference

10 October 2012
                 The Children’s Champion

    “There shall be a senior member of staff (the “Children’s Champion”)
    who is responsible to the Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency for:
        promoting the duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of
         children throughout the UK Border Agency;
        offering advice and support to UK Border Agency staff in issues
         relating to children; and
        identifying and escalating issues of concern.”

                 Para 2.9, Statutory guidance to the UK Border Agency on making
                 arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children

                The Office of the Children’s Champion: what
                do we do?

 Champion the interests of children within UKBA and Border Force

 Seek to promote a change in agency culture in respect of children

 Provide the agency with professional child welfare advice (from
  seconded social workers) on a case-by-case and a strategic basis

 Manage UKBA training on Keeping Children Safe

 Advise on the interests of children in policy development (but we
  don’t own policy)

 “Sponsor” the Independent Family Returns Panel

 Advise on relationships with local authorities
                The Office of the Children’s Champion: how
                do we do it?

 We act as a critical friend to the Agency – offering support, advice
  and challenge, and escalating where necessary

 We are not independent and we do not make decide cases

 Our aim is to work with business areas and to support them in
  carrying out their functions taking account of the need to
  safeguard and promote the welfare of children

 This involves close working with, and through, operational line
  management, and safeguarding leads across UKBA and Border

 We operate an inbox for casework queries (c 80 cases a month)
                The UK Border Agency & children: increasing

 November 2009: coming into force of section 55 of the Borders,
  Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 (the children’s duty)

 May 2010: Coalition commitment to end the detention of children
  for immigration purposes and subsequent review

 December 2010: closure of Yarl’s Wood to children

 March 2011: national roll-out of the new family returns process

                      Family returns process:
                      key elements (rolled out 1 March 2011)

                            Assisted                Required                 Ensured
    1   Decision        2                       3                        4
                             Return                  Return                   Return

 Creation of          • Every family has a   • Families are offered   • New Independent
  specialist family      family conference      the chance to            Family Returns
  case-owners in         to explain return      manage their own         Panel advises on
  every region (or       options, including     return with a self       individual plans for
  access to              AVR (Refugee           check-in removal         ensured returns
  specialism)            Action), and
                         manage barriers                               • New options for
                                                                         ensured return
                                                                         include Cedars

                The UK Border Agency & children: wider

 Children’s issues have much higher profile within the agency
  (including through senior safeguarding leads and Deputy Chief

 Better relationships with local authorities and other statutory
  partners (LSCBs)

 Better engagement with families (family conferences)

 More scrutiny, challenge and partnership working (Independent
  Family Returns Panel and Barnardo’s)

                The UK Border Agency & children: going

 Responding to recommendations in the annual report of the
  Independent Family Returns Panel (published 19 September)

 Independent evaluation of the family returns process (currently

 UNHCR audit of decision-making in family cases (currently

 Thematic inspection by Independent Chief Inspector of Borders
  and Immigration of the treatment of unaccompanied children
  arriving in the UK.

                The UK Border Agency & children: going

 Unaccompanied children can be especially vulnerable – hence
  tailored process with additional safeguards.

 Important that those in the asylum process understand what is
  happening to them and are able to present their case.

 Looking at how people gain access to the asylum process and the
  information provided to them to ensure they understand what is
  expected of them.

 Within that, looking at the specific needs of children in the asylum
  process – setting up meeting with NGOs to listen to your views.

            The UK Border Agency & children: going

What do you think?

Want to hear your views


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