ICIBI inspection of the use of hotels and barracks as contingency asylum accommodation

Updated 10 February 2021: Inspectors from ICIBI and HMI Prisons are visiting both sites during the week beginning 15 February.

The call for evidence will remain open for four weeks (until 19 February 2021).

In line with S.52(2) of the UK Borders Act 2007, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) has sought the assistance of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) with ICIBI’s inspection of contingency asylum accommodation, specifically Penally Camp and Napier Barracks, Folkestone.

HMIP’s involvement will enable ICIBI’s inspection to progress at pace, without having to divert resources from other ‘live’ inspections, and it will also mean that ICIBI can benefit from HMIP’s knowledge and experience of inspecting large institutional settings, particularly during the current pandemic.

Inspectors from ICIBI and HMIP are planning to visit both sites during the week of 15 February.

The inspection visits will comprise:

  • interviews with accommodation service provider staff and any other persons providing onsite services to the residents
  • interviews with residents
  • a review of relevant locally-held documentary evidence (e.g. local rules, information, risk assessments, complaints logs, etc.)
  • an assessment of the premises and onsite facilities
  • separate short surveys of staff and residents (distributed in advance of the visits).

Following the site visits, HMIP will produce a written report of its findings which will be appended to ICIBI’s inspection report for publication by the Home Secretary in due course. As with all ICIBI inspections, the Independent Chief Inspector will raise any matters requiring urgent attention with the Home Office, or directly with ministers, in advance of submitting his full inspection report.

The ‘call for evidence’ for this inspection closes on Friday 19 February 2021.

This is the original call:

25 January 2021: The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) has begun an inspection of the use of hotels and barracks as contingency asylum accommodation and is inviting anyone with relevant knowledge or experience to submit their evidence to chiefinspector@icibi.gov.uk.

The call for evidence will remain open for four weeks (until 19 February 2021).

This inspection will examine the use made of hotels and other forms of contingency asylum accommodation, including Penally Camp and Napier Barracks, since the beginning of 2020. It will focus on the roles and responsibilities of the Home Office and the accommodation service providers, and of other parties, in relation to the use of contingency asylum accommodation, including:

  • communication between the Home Office and the accommodation service providers, and with other stakeholders (for example, local authorities, health services, NGOs who provide support to asylum seekers), regarding the need for contingency asylum accommodation in particular areas
  • the process(es) for identifying potential contingency asylum accommodation and for testing and deciding about the suitability of specific sites, including with regard to Covid-19 safety
  • decisions about individual asylum seekers and their needs in terms of accommodation and other support, including information sharing, record keeping, oversight and review, particularly with regard to vulnerabilities and risks
  • communication between the Home Office and/or the accommodation service providers and individuals (“service users”) regarding their asylum accommodation, including any changes to that accommodation
  • the strategy for reducing the requirement for contingency asylum accommodation in the short- to medium-term (to the end of 2021-22) and longer-term (through to the end of the current Asylum Accommodation and Support Contracts)

ICIBI would welcome evidence in relation to any of the above points, but also in respect of any other matters that those with knowledge and experience of contingency asylum accommodation consider relevant.

Since the end of 2020, ICIBI has been speaking to and receiving evidence from a number of stakeholders, along with residents of both Penally Camp and Napier Barracks. There is no need for those who have already provided evidence to re-submit it, unless they wish to update or add to it.

Please Note: The Independent Chief Inspector is unable to assist with individual asylum claims or with complaints, but where anyone considers that the details of a claim or complaint are relevant they may include them in their evidence submission.


If you send evidence to this investigation, we would appreciate it if you feel able to share it with us, by emailing info@statusnow4all.org – and it would help if you used ‘ICIBI investigation’ in the subject line.

Updated 9 February 2021: HM Inspectorate of Prisons: Asylum accommodation inspection

In the week beginning 15 February 2021, HMI Prisons inspectors will visit Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent and Penally Camp in Pembrokeshire. These sites are currently being used as asylum accommodation.

HMI Prisons is assisting the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI), who is currently conducting an inspection of contingency asylum accommodation. A statement outlining key findings from the visits will be published on our website in the weeks following the inspection. HMI Prisons will send a full report to the ICIBI, to be appended to his full report when it is published.

Read more about the ICIBI’s request for evidence.

Submissions to David Bolt’s inspection of contingency units: this is Sheila Mosley’s homepage, detailing her personal submission, and the post will link to other submissions that are publically available – http://crowspirit.org.uk/home-office-use-of-contingency-units/

also ILPA’s response: