Asylum: Housing

Home Office written question – answered on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of Stuart McDonald Stuart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Immigration, Asylum and Border Control)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with which local authorities did his Department's contract compliance team conduct joint inspections of asylum accommodation in 2018.

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration

The Home Office does not routinely publish data on its inspection activity.

Local Authorities are actively engaged in the inspection and monitoring of properties used by asylum seekers and we welcome their input and expertise. In the first instance we expect Providers to develop close working relationships with Local Authorities on property standards and in particular they must com-ply with local authority licensing and regulation regimes. Where licences are applicable and issued the Local Authority can and do inspect property stand-ards to ensure they comply.

We encourage our Providers to take a proactive role in engaging Local Author-ities on property standards and would expect that in the first instance that Pro-viders and local authorities inspect jointly where that is required. This has in-cluded joint inspections with over 25 Local Authorities over the last 12 months.

The offer to inspect jointly with UKVI or the accommodation provider is open to all Local Authority areas though we cannot compel them to do so. If Local Au-thorities feel they do not have sufficient resource to inspect with UKVI, or the accommodation Provider, then the Home Office is committed to using its re-source to inspect areas of concern and feedback our findings.

As part of our Assurance Plan, we have offered a pilot to three Local Authority areas in the Yorkshire and Humberside region. We will evaluate their success and roll out any future programmes to all Local Authorities who wish to take us up on that offer.

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