Title Despite repeated failings, private firms continue to run asylum housing Media name/outlet The Conversation Date 14/02/17 Description Just over a year after reports that some people seeking asylum were housed in accommodation with red doors, apparently making it easier for them to be identified, MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee published a critical report in late January into the state of asylum housing in the UK.
Details within the report provide a shameful account of failings by some of the private firms that run asylum housing. The chair of the committee, the Labour MP Yvette Cooper, said:
The state of accommodation for some asylum seekers and refugees in this country is a disgrace. And the current contract system just isn’t working. Major reforms are needed.
Back in January 2016, The Times called the red doors for asylum seekers “apartheid on the streets of Britain”. The private security contractor involved, G4S, had not addressed concerns raised about the doors with its subcontractor Jomast, potentially exposing people to the risk of hate crime.
G4S insisted it had no policy of painting the doors of asylum housing red. In early May 2016, it wrote to the Home Affairs Select Committee, to say that “the majority of doors are no longer red” and that “any further repainting that might be necessary will be funded by G4S”.
Despite these concerns, in December 2016, the UK government decided to extend and expand the contract with G4S, as well as the contracts with the companies Serco and Clearsprings – neither of which was involved in the red doors incident. The extension was made by the immigration minister Robert Goodwill, who lodged a short written statement in parliament announcing the government would take the option of extending the current Commercial and Operating Managers Procuring Asylum Support contracts for asylum support – known as COMPASS – until 2019. These primarily provide accommodation, transport and other related services for people seeking asylum.
The announcement got little coverage, but is a deeply concerning decision.
URL theconversation.com/despite-repeated-failings-private-firms-continue-to-run-asylum-housing-70949 Persons Kate Smith