Dispersal is the process by which the Home Office moves destitute asylum seekers to specified local authority areas across the UK. They are first moved to initial accommodation while their application for asylum support is processed. Once the application has been processed and approved they are moved on to dispersal accommodation.
Glasgow is the only dispersal area in Scotland and currently supports c.5,000 asylum seekers. COSLA has worked closely with Glasgow City Council to support their approach to dispersal over a number of years. COSLA works with the council and other statutory services on a day to day basis to seek to manage the impacts of dispersal in the city and is also heavily involved in more strategic work that takes place with a range of partners, including the Home Office and their contractors, both at a Scottish and UK level.
Glasgow Taskforce on Asylum and Partnership Board
In August 2018 a taskforce, which included Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government, the Scottish Refugee Council, COSLA, the Home Office and Glasgow and West of Scotland Housing Forum, was set up amid concerns about planned evictions of refused asylum seekers in the city. The evictions process is currently being challenged through the courts.
The taskforce, as well as concurrent discussions at a UK level, explored ways in which the relationship between local authorities, the Home Office and their contractors can be recalibrated - to create more of a partnership approach and improve information sharing. The taskforce made a series of recommendations which were contained in a taskforce closing report (published March 2019). These were accepted by all partners, with a commitment from the Home Office to look at each one to determine what can be agreed and implemented.
Early steps have been made in this regard. These include the establishment of a tripartite Partnership Board, chaired by Glasgow City Council and involving the Home Office and their contractors. COSLA actively supports the work of the Partnership Board.
Read our latest political papers on asylum dispersal HERE.
Last updated: 05/09/19