In a matter of weeks, the Government will sign contracts determining asylum accommodation for the next 10 years. We believe that these have not addressed the protracted and persistent issues witnessed under the current COMPASS contracts, despite recommendations from Parliament and key stakeholders.
A Westminster Hall Debate has been secured on Wednesday 10 October, 2.30-4.00pm, providing an important opportunity to scrutinise the contracts at this critical juncture, and call for crucial changes that will ensure that future accommodation provision truly meets the needs of all asylum seekers and reflects the interests and recommendations of the communities and Local Authorities upon which the dispersal system relies.
How you can help
We need as many MPs as possible to commit to attending the debate to be a voice for concerns with the design of the new contracts and to propose workable solutions that will improve the quality and suitability of asylum accommodation and ensure the long term sustainability of the asylum dispersal system as a whole.
We are calling on local and national partners to help us invite MPs to attend and have created a briefing for MPs (available here as a pdf and available here as a Word doc) and model email (available here) to enable you to do this.
We’re also looking for first-hand information and case studies of key asylum accommodation issues to share with MPs and ensure an evidence-based debate. Local support organisations and people currently living in asylum accommodation can get in touch to share relevant evidence – and you can see examples of what we’re after in this document.
What is the current situation and what changes do we want to see?
The asylum accommodation contracts are currently out to tender and will replace the COMPASS accommodation contracts. Due to be signed by December 2018, they will be binding for the next 10 years. The re-design of the contracts presents the opportunity to ensure the long term sustainability of the asylum dispersal system by
- committing resources to enable the successful integration of asylum seekers;
- empowering and resourcing devolved Governments and Local Authorities to oversee the delivery of the contracts and determine where accommodation is procured;
- ending the damaging practice of forced bedroom sharing and ensuring that accommodation provision truly meets the needs of all asylum seekers, including vulnerable groups;
Towns and cities up and down the country are proud to be places of welcome to those seeking safety from persecution. Yet lack of local oversight over asylum accommodation and the absence of resourcing to meet local needs risk generating resentment, undermining community cohesion and marginalising the Local Authorities and communities upon which the dispersal system relies. Some have publicly threatened to pull out of dispersal. Meanwhile, many others in England, Scotland and Wales have appealed to the Home Secretary and Minister for Immigration to intervene.