G4S confirms services for asylum seekers in place
• Focus moves to improving quality of housing
The accommodation requirements of thousands of vulnerable asylum-seekers have been secured, as the remaining people have been transferred across to G4S-managed housing under the COMPASS accommodation contracts.
The company, which in March was awarded two contracts to provide accommodation and housing services for around 9,000 asylum seekers in England by the UK Border Agency (UKBA, confirmed it had completed the transition across to G4S management as the last remaining families moved into new accommodation today in Barnsley and Leeds.
Stephen Small, Managing Director of G4S Immigration and Borders, said:
“We are pleased to have completed the transition of all the people in our care and well before the Christmas break. We were always careful to minimise any disruption as far as possible, for example by ensuring families can stay near to local schools. We can confirm that no family has been obliged to move anywhere which might have meant their children had to move schools.
“Asylum seekers are among the most vulnerable in society and we can appreciate that the transition process will have been an anxious time for many. Now that all services have been successfully transferred across to G4S, our housing partners will be working tirelessly to ensure all our service users can begin to settle in and get on with their lives.
“This is however, only the beginning of a long-term commitment by G4S and the UKBA to improving services for asylum seekers. Our biggest challenge going forward, and one which we have started to tackle immediately, is to improve the standard of housing. Much of the housing stock we have inherited from the previous providers does not comply with the higher standards demanded of the COMPASS contracts, and we are now embarking on an improvement plan with our accommodation providers and local authorities which will see standards raised across all our property portfolio. “
G4S was awarded contracts to provide accommodation and housing services in two English regions:
- North East Yorkshire & The Humber
- Midlands & East of England
In total 3,816 people have transferred across to G4S-run accommodation in NE Yorkshire & The Humber, and 3,828 in the Midlands and East of England region. The vast majority of these have not had to move home, as the management of their housing simply transferred from private landlords to G4S.
However, where properties were managed by Local Authorities, some asylum seekers have had to move as properties returned to the local authorities as part of their housing stock. This has affected 373 people in the Midlands and the East England and 881 people in North East Yorkshire and the Humber, who have all now moved into new homes.
G4S is now managing approximately 3,000 properties for UKBA, working through a supply chain of established housing providers and specialists, all with extensive experience of working with asylum seekers.
G4S will be managing the services for up to seven years.