Asylum: Housing

Home Office written question – answered on 2nd December 2022.

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Photo of Stuart McDonald Stuart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what (a) recent steps she has taken and (b) steps she plans to take to help ensure that asylum accommodation does not have persistent black mould in it in the period since the death of Awaab Ishak in Rochdale; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Stuart McDonald Stuart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the contracts her Department holds with asylum accommodation providers include (a) provisions and (b) key performance indicators concerning the (i) identification and (ii) effective treatment of black mould in that accommodation.

Photo of Stuart McDonald Stuart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department is aware of any serious incidents of black mould affecting the health of residents in asylum accommodation; and what processes her Department has to ensure monitoring arrangements are in place to assess standards in accommodation.

Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Minister for Immigration

The welfare and safety of all vulnerable asylum seekers in our care is of the utmost importance to the Home Office, and we expect the highest standards from our accommodation providers. Our accommodation providers are contractually obliged to provide adequate accommodation and to conduct regular quality assurance checks across the asylum estate. Accommodation providers complete due diligence checks and all accommodation must be statutorily and regulatory compliant before they are selected. Robust compliance and governance protocols exist to ensure daily engagement is undertaken with our service providers by Home Office officials to ensure and assure that the providers’ operational delivery and overall performance consistently meet the required standards. This is supplemented by weekly, monthly and quarterly governance meetings.

The Home Office also has a Contract Assurance team which conducts a range of activities to ensure accommodation providers deliver to the required standards. All contingency accommodation sites are inspected by the team. Dispersal accommodation is also inspected on an intelligence led basis. Properties are checked against the high standards set by the contract. Providers are required to take immediate action to address any issues that are found.

Asylum seekers can raise specific issues or concerns about their accommodation through the 24/7 Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) service operated via Migrant Help. Home Office officials review the issues and feedback received via Migrant Help to help understand the health of the service and address any problems, for example, by targeting inspections of properties about which issues have been raised

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