Today Asylum Matters launches a new guide to the Asylum Accommodation and Support Contract (AASC) and what it says about full board and initial accommodation. The resources we have created are intended primarily for frontline organisations helping people seeking asylum navigate the system, as well as for those agencies that are engaging in advocacy with Providers and the Home Office around the contracts.
This follows the set of resources we provided in late 2019, designed to help advocates better understand and navigate two new contracts that govern the way people seeking asylum are accommodated and supported whilst they seek sanctuary in the UK.
Why have we produced new guides?
Since we first published our guides to the contracts, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a huge increase in the use of new types of accommodation for people seeking asylum. In the main, this is known as ‘contingency’ accommodation (additional accommodation intended to be for temporary use) and includes hotels, as well as two disused Ministry of Defence sites. We, alongside other colleagues, are incredibly concerned about the increased use of inadequate and inappropriate accommodation for people seeking asylum.
What’s in the new guides and who are they for?
The resources we have published today set out the contractual requirements in the AASC contract for initial and full board accommodation. They are intended to be easily accessible guides for advocates to better understand the specification of the contracts, and enable them to use the contract to challenge inadequate provision.
The AASC contracts are clear that the use of contingency accommodation should in no circumstances vary the contract in respect of the provision of services by accommodation providers (Schedule 5 para 5.4.7.c). Our understanding is therefore that all contingency accommodation should meet the standards set out in the Asylum Accommodation and Support Statement of Requirements for initial or full board accommodation. To date, there has not been any detailed guidance distributed publicly by the Home Office on this point.
We have produced two new documents for partners to use:
- A short summary which explains the main requirements;
- A full guide which includes more detail on the expectations and obligations of the accommodation providers.
These were last updated on the 3rd December.
What about the other parts of the asylum support and accommodation contracts?
In 2019, we published guides to the AASC and AIRE contracts, which set out the respective contractual frameworks and provide more detail around the expectations and obligations of the service providers. The guides also set out the framework for the interaction between the AASC and AIRE providers. You can find the guide to the AASC contract here and the guide to the AIRE contract here.
We have created two posters which clearly set out the service standards in both contracts: you can find digital versions of the AASC poster here and the AIRE poster here which are ready for printing. Alternatively, please get in touch with our team if you would like to request hard copies of the posters.
If you want to get in touch with Asylum Matters about these documents, or our work on asylum accommodation more generally, please contact [email protected]