Asylum seeker accommodation report
A committee of MPs has today released a report on the standard of accommodation for asylum seeker housing in the UK.
G4S provides accommodation in two of the six regions and facilitated a visit by a group of the committee’s members to asylum seeker accommodation in November last year. The company also provided written evidence and appeared before the committee.
While the committee’s report recognised that the overall standard of accommodation has improved, concerns were raised about cases of poor quality housing passed to them by asylum seekers and charities and housing groups.
Responding to today’s report, managing director for G4S immigration and borders, John Whitwam, said:
“Today’s report sets out the challenge of housing double the number of asylum seekers than were forecast under this contract while three-quarters of local authorities in the regions in which we work do not allow us to place people into their areas.
“The standard of accommodation provided to asylum seekers is an important measure of the UK's commitment to give sanctuary to those fleeing persecution abroad. The report makes clear that these standards have generally improved over the past two years, and whilst the isolated examples of poor practice raised are clearly unacceptable, we do not believe they are a reliable guide to the standards the overwhelming majority of asylum seekers coming to Britain can expect to receive.
"The Compass contract is heavily monitored by the Home Office, which together with local authorities conducts several hundred inspections of our properties every year, in addition to the 4,000+ inspections we perform ourselves every month.
"The standard of accommodation provided to asylum seekers is subject to prescriptive criteria, and any failure to meet these results in a contract penalty. Since November 2013, we have not been subject to any performance penalties, but in conduction many tens of thousands of defects each year we have met the required standard.
"We continue to invest in our provision, despite heavy commercial losses, and by the summer we will employ 30 per cent more front line welfare and maintenance support officers, with some positions taken up by successful asylum seekers who have been through the COMPASS system. Many of our welfare officers are very experienced professionals in local housing and welfare provision having worked for local housing associations, local government environmental housing roles and charities."
Notes to editors:
The report can be accessed on the Home Affairs Committee website
G4S evidence to the committee:
Oral evidence, 26 January 2016
Peter Neden, Regional President UK and Ireland, G4S, John Whitwam, Managing Director, Immigration and Borders
Written evidence, 22 February 2016
Details on contract terms
Written evidence, 24 October 2016
Details on the relationship with local authorities
Written evidence, 21 November 2016
Details on what providers are contracted to deliver and total numbers of asylum seekers and local authorities which permit us to work in their area
Written evidence, 1 December 2016
Details on the rectification of defects