Granting protection to those who genuinely need it and refusing those who do not, in an efficient, sensitive and effective way, is crucial. I am assured that all members of staff who make asylum decisions receive a comprehensive level of training. This includes a dedicated five-week Foundation Training Programme (FTP) that includes training on international and domestic law and safeguarding issues. This is then supplemented by a mentoring programme with an experienced caseworker that lasts from three to six months. The FTP includes a detailed sector covering torture claims involving medico-legal reports.
The course is explicit that decision makers must not make clinical judgements and must properly consider evidence and give appropriate weight to all evidence presented in order to reach an informed decision, only rejecting claims when there is a significant reason to do so. The course includes example medico-legal reports which the trainees must analyse and interpret as part of a number of practical exercises.
Similarly following training, there is a robust quality assurance process in place involving technical specialists embedded within each team, senior caseworkers within each unit and a national internal quality audit team who ensure that all policies are complied with when decisions are made.
I should also highlight that Asylum Operations recently received funding from the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund to review and redevelop its training prospectus. As part of that work, Asylum Operations is liaising with a range of external stakeholders, including charities and non-governmental organisations, to ensure that there is robust and effective safeguarding training.
The cases of those who have been abused who claim asylum in the United Kingdom must be processed quickly and efficiently, and I am assured the procedures are in place to do so.