Serco Ltd has been awarded the contract to manage Brook House and Tinsley House immigration removal centres, following an open and rigorous procurement process.
The contract awarded by the Home Office will begin on 21 May 2020. It includes ambitious plans to improve the 2 centres in Gatwick.
As part of the new contract, Serco will:
- substantially increase staff numbers so officers spend more time supporting detainees
- give detainees access to educational and skills-based activities, 7 days a week to help with their return
- boost the number of welfare staff to ensure individuals receive the appropriate level of care
- provide new safeguarding and vulnerability training for staff
The improvements are further steps to modernise the immigration detention estate, as well as responding to the former Prison Ombudsman, Stephen Shaw’s two reports on detention.
The contract includes improved performance monitoring to ensure detainees’ health and welfare are prioritised. Financial penalties will be considered if there are any dips in performance standards.
Immigration Minister Kevin Foster said:
Detention plays a key but limited role in the wider immigration system and ensures we can remove foreign national offenders and those with no legal right to be in the UK.
This contract is a major step forward in our programme of immigration detention reform. It will significantly improve the day-to-day lives of detainees and the staff who support them.
The government’s priorities for immigration detention reform include minimising the use of detention and strengthening decision-making and safeguards for the vulnerable, while continuing to tackle abuse of the immigration system.
These reforms already mean that:
- 95% of those liable for removal are managed in the community
- 73% of detainees are in detention for less than 29 days, and 96% for less than 4 months
- the detention estate is now almost 40% smaller than it was in 2015
- as of September 2019, there were 11% fewer people in detention than a year ago
Serco Ltd already manage Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre on behalf of the Home Office. Their contract for Brook House and Tinsley House will last until 2028, with an option to extend until 2030.
G4S currently run Brook House and Tinsley House, which includes pre-departure accommodation. The Home Office is working closely with G4S and Serco Ltd to ensure a smooth transition.