Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations and the Detention Centre (Amendment) Rules 2018 - Motion to Regret

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 27th June 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development) 6:30 pm, 27th June 2018

I take both noble Baronesses’ point. We did engage with the NGOs. What are the differences between us? I will get back to the noble Baronesses and place a copy of the letter in the Library in due course, because I do not have the information on what the feedback was.

The noble Baroness asked about powerlessness being confined to physical situations. It is also a consideration in cases where no physical harm takes place, so it could apply in a situation in which, for example, an individual is subjected to psychological abuse.

Perhaps I may conclude with a word on training. Over the past six weeks, officials have delivered an extensive training programme for caseworkers making detention decisions and for healthcare staff based in immigration removal centres and residential short-term holding facilities. One thing that NGOs have been able to do is observe that training and provide feedback, which the trainers have taken on board.

On the broader question, I hope that both noble Baronesses will allow me to get back to them on that. New and comprehensive guidance will be provided for caseworkers and healthcare staff. I hope that we will be able to provide caseworkers with the guidance and the knowledge that they need to make consistent and fair decisions, which is what we all seek. We will keep the guidance under review.

The Government are committed to discharging their duty to control immigration effectively and to secure our borders, but I can assure noble Lords that of course at the same time we are absolutely committed to the welfare of all detainees and to protecting the victims of torture and other vulnerable people in immigration detention. Those aims are not incompatible, and it is to these complementary ends that we are implementing the court’s judgment now.