Report shows that the private company G4S who have been given the contract for asylum housing has been a disaster for asylum seekers and their families.
The study suggests that the allocation of the contracts to an international security company rather than a housing provider suggests that the contracts were allocated for political rather than commercial reasons. This is only compounded by the poor performance of the company.
The study took place in Yorkshire and the Humber and the North East, prepared on behalf of South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) and Notog4sYorkshire Plus, for the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.
The key points they highlight are:
The original business plan of G4S was not adequately scrutinised by the UKBA. There was never enough good quality accommodation in the PRS (Private Rented Sector) in Yorkshire to move asylum seekers into. This fact was put to the UKBA and never considered;
The UKBA/G4S transition process entailed delays for up to six months in moving individual families, properties not being inspected prior to allocation, and substandard properties offered on a ‘no choice’ basis. The report quotes a large number of case studies;
There was no evidence that UKBA and G4S had any procedures for assessing the needs of asylum seekers and their families and attempting to match them with appropriate accommodation;
Housing management services provided by G4S and subcontracting companies were totally inadequate as a result of reductions in staffing levels on the new contracts compared with the previous Target contracts;
There is evidence particularly in the North East that G4S and its subcontractors ignored the UKBA guidelines on not allocating asylum seekers ‘vulnerable properties’ in high crime areas and in areas with known racial incidents and far right activity.
The report concludes that the weight of evidence gathered by researchers, journalists, volunteers and activists should trigger an investigation by the Independent Chief Inspector for Borders and Immigration.
A councillor from Hull says she is “very worried” over the health needs of refugees being housed in the city by G4S. The work was previously carried out by a consortium of local councils in the region and the social care councillor is extremely concerned about the quality of the service and the people being looked after, since the change over to G4S.
The study comes after an announcement last week that G4S will be one of the private firms handling the monitoring and rehabilitation of medium risk prisoners when released into society.
This is a similar situation where they have no experience in the field, instead of using those already familiar with the sector.
Harry Fletcher of the probation union Napo said it is a “chaotic and dangerous” plan:
It’s extraordinary the Government will outsource probation services to firms with no experience supervising volatile offenders.
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Extremely informative, excellent speaker.
Alison Halstead - Riverside ECHG