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UK Border Agency is given statutory duty to safeguard and promote children's welfare

Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 came into force yesterday. It places a duty on the Home Secretary to make arrangements for ensuring that immigration, asylum, nationality and customs functions are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. A similar duty is placed on the Director of Border Revenue in respect of the Director's functions.

This duty puts the UK Border Agency on the same footing as other bodies that work with children. It will be a driver for more effective inter-agency working, which is crucial if children are to be kept safe and given the opportunity to thrive. In particular, the duty will place greater emphasis on our participation with local safeguarding children boards.

The duty does not give the UK Border Agency any new functions or override its existing ones, but does require us to consider the needs of children as children and to take them into account in our work.

The UK Border Agency has developed an extensive training programme on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children for its staff, tailored to the amount of involvement they have with children in their day-to-day work activities.

Statutory guidance to accompany the new duty has been issued jointly by the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration, Phil Woolas, and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children, Young People and Families, Baroness Delyth Morgan. You can download this guidance from the right side of this page.

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