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Call for probe into claim council knew about asylum seeker lock change plan

E-mails which show that Serco, who has the contract for housing asylum seekers, contacted council officers in April, informing them of their plan for failed asylum seekers.

The correspondence also claims that Councillor Jen Layden, Equalities and Human Rights Convenor was also made aware of the firm’s intentions and Serco claimed she “approved”.

The official notice was sent out in late July meaning the council official was made aware of the risk to the asylum seekers three months earlier.

Councillor Layden was sent an e-mail earlier in July but says she was on holiday and later told Serco she did not give approval for lock changes and did not support that course of action.

Kim Long, Green councilor for Dennistoun is seeking an inquiry into he claims by Serco.

She said: “The UK asylum process is rotten to the core – Glasgow City Councilshould not be cooperating with the Home Office’s hostile environment as these reports indicate.

“We’ve today demanded a full enquiry by a Council scrutiny committee into who knew what and when regarding planned evictions this summer, as well as transparency over what has happened since then at the closed asylum taskforce meetings.

“The administration must act quickly to rebuild trust that will be shaken by these troubling reports.”

The council said that the information given to an officer about lock changes was not “escalated” meaning it was not passed on to senior management or to councilors.

The Council said Serco sent an email to Ms Layden on July 17 while council was in recess and she was on holiday and said the firm would have received an ‘out of office’ reply.

It said when she was made aware of the claims, she wrote to Serco stating she “did not believe she indicated support” for the protocol of lock changing.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: “The information was not escalated. Councillors were unaware of the lock changes.

“That is why they ‘went Tonto’ and reacted urgently to stop Serco going ahead with their planned lock changes as soon as they found out.

“It is simply untrue to suggest Glasgow City Council officers or members were working with Serco and the Home Office to implement lock changes.

“We were working with the Home Office on how social work within the constraints of the law would be able to support vulnerable asylum seekers who have had a negative decision.”

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