The regulation of safety arrangements in Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) is through the Detention Centre Rules 2001, the Operating Standards for IRCs, Detention Services Orders relating to security arrangements and the relevant sections of the contracts and service level agreements relating to security. Each IRC has a Home Office Immigration Enforcement Manager to monitor ongoing service provision.
Independent scrutiny is an important part of assurance that our removal centres are safe, secure and humane. Assessments of IRCs and holding rooms are published by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMCIP) and in the annual reports of Independent Monitoring Boards (IMB).
Home Office service improvement plans contribute to delivering continuing improvement of services in response to independent recommendations. Service improvement plans in response to HMCIP inspection reports have been publicly available on the HMCIP website for all reports published after 1 April 2015.
On 9 February 2015 my Right Honourable Friend, the Home Secretary, announced an independent review of the welfare in detention of vulnerable persons by Stephen Shaw, which included consideration of the conditions at IRCs and airport holding rooms. The Government’s position on the review was set out in the Written Ministerial Statement laid on 14 January 2016.
Current policy is clear that a number of groups of individuals, including pregnant women, the elderly, victims of torture and the mentally ill, should be detained only in very exceptional circumstances. The Government accepts Stephen Shaw’s recommendations that there should be a wider definition of those at risk, and will introduce a new “adult at risk” concept into decision-making on immigration detention, with a clear presumption that people who are at risk should not be detained, building on the existing legal framework.