Asylum: Housing

Home Office written question – answered on 5th December 2018.

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Photo of Lord Ramsbotham Lord Ramsbotham Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recommendations in the report by Refugee Rights Europe, Finally Safe? Experiences of Women in Asylum Accommodation in Birmingham, published in November, and the proposals made by Asylum Matters and the Scottish Refugee Council about an increased role for local authorities in the procurement and monitoring of asylum accommodation.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development)

The Government demands the highest standards from contractors and their accommodation and monitor them closely to ensure this is maintained. All Providers are contractually required to take account of any particular circumstances and vulnerability of those that they accommodate, including those who have health care issues or are pregnant. This includes making specific allowances for accommodation type in accordance with local authority regulations, as well as ensuring that registration and transportation to medical appointments takes place.

Identifying the needs of service users as well as safeguarding those being supported by UKVI are common themes throughout the new contracts. Additional measures have been put in place to monitor the service that is being delivered, introducing mechanisms and opportunities to respond to changes in service user circumstances whilst they are supported and accommodated. We encourage all reports to share details of individual cases with the Home Office to ensure that we are able to respond swiftly and efficiently to any points raised.

We take the wellbeing of asylum seekers and the local communities in which they live extremely seriously and will continue to work closely with local authorities across the United Kingdom to deliver on our statutory obligation to house destitute asylum seekers whilst their asylum claims are determined. All accommodation providers are contractually obliged to consult the relevant Local Authority on any new properties procured for use in the asylum dispersal system. This obligation will continue into the new accommodation contracts.

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