Asylum: Hotels

Home Office written question – answered on 20th July 2022.

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Photo of Stephen Farry Stephen Farry Alliance, North Down

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance is used to determine the quality and nature of meals to be provided to asylum seekers in contingency accommodation in hotels.

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Asylum Accommodation and Support Services Contracts (AASC) set out what we require of accommodation providers in relation to the provision of food in our accommodation. This includes providing three meals a day, refreshments, a food service for babies and small children, and options that cater for specific dietary needs or requirements. In addition accommodation providers should also ensure that each menu is validated by a suitably qualified nutritionist or health professional as being appropriate to the dietary needs of service users.

Accommodation providers will also engage with supported asylum seekers in hotel accommodation to review provision of food and where appropriate amend the choices of food available. Where supported asylum seekers are unhappy with the food provided they are able to raise their concerns with operational staff within the contingency site, but also more formally via the Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) helpline which operates on a 24/7 basis and is free of charge.

The Home Office monitors providers closely to ensure the requirements we set out in our contracts are being delivered, this includes physically inspecting contingency sites and food provision.

Evidence submitted to the Independent Chief Inspector during his recent inspection of contingency accommodation showed that the accommodation providers were complying with the contractual requirement to have menus nutritionally validated and were providing a varied menu – usually rotating menus every 3 weeks. In addition, when physically visiting accommodation sites, inspectors noted menus on display at the sites appeared to be well balanced and showed food options were rotated to create variety. They also found all the properties that were required to supply meals provided the required number as stipulated in the contract requirements. Inspectors saw evidence specialist meals were provided and dietary needs were considered

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