This report from ICIBI links well to the report of 24 November 2021: BBC – Brook House detention centre whistleblower ‘abuse’ inquiry begins – see that and other information about the Brook House Inquiry below
21 October 2021: Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration – ICIBI Report Published: Second Annual Inspection of ‘Adults at risk in immigration detention’ July 2020 to March 2021
This inspection found that work to address shortcomings in the Home Office’s policy and procedures for identifying and safeguarding vulnerable detainees was moving at an unacceptably slow pace. Though seven of the eight recommendations made in ICIBI’s first annual inspection were accepted in full or in part, none of these had been closed by January 2021.
Following Stephen Shaw’s 2016 and 2018 reviews of the welfare in detention of vulnerable persons, the then Home Secretary commissioned the Chief Inspector to report on “whether and how the Adults at Risk policy is making a difference”. This is the second of those reports.
Upon the publication by the Home Office of ICIBI’s report on its Second Annual Inspection of ‘Adults at risk in immigration detention’, Independent Chief Inspector David Neal said:
I welcome the publication of the Second Annual Inspection of ‘Adults at Risk in immigration detention’. Following on from ICIBI’s first report on the functioning of the Home Office’s Adults at Risk policy, published in April 2020, this inspection explored the efficacy of the mechanisms in place to identify and safeguard vulnerable people in detention.
The challenge of operating an effective ‘Adults at risk in immigration detention’ policy was inevitably exacerbated over the past 18 months by the Covid-19 pandemic, which posed a particular threat to vulnerable people. While the Home Office and its suppliers managed this challenge well within the immigration detention estate, the population of time-served Foreign National Offenders held in prisons under immigration powers grew significantly over the period of the pandemic. It remains a concern that these individuals have less access to the safeguards offered under the Adults at Risk policy than their counterparts in Immigration Removal Centres and are therefore less likely to be identified and managed as vulnerable.
This inspection found that work to address shortcomings in the Home Office’s policy and procedures for identifying and safeguarding vulnerable detainees was moving at an unacceptably slow pace. Though seven of the eight recommendations made in ICIBI’s first annual inspection were accepted in full or in part, none of these had been closed by January 2021. Known flaws with the Adults at Risk policy itself remained unaddressed, with work on these issues on hold while new legislation makes its way through Parliament. Though awareness of vulnerability issues among Home Office staff has grown considerably in recent years, a perception within the department that Adults at Risk safeguards are widely abused engenders suspicion towards claims of vulnerability. Robust evidence to substantiate this perception was lacking, and concerns about abuse of safeguards at times appeared to serve as a justification for slow, poor-quality caseworking. An atmosphere of suspicion towards claimants is particularly dangerous when dealing with some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society. This danger is compounded when at the tactical level of the delivery of control measures to protect them is uneven and at the strategic level previously identified gaps are left unaddressed.
This inspection has resulted in eleven recommendations, some of which are timebound. Responding to Home Office feedback, I made the recommendations narrower, more directed and more deliverable than those arising from the first annual inspection. It is therefore disappointing to see the Home Office take a piecemeal approach to engaging with the recommendations, with only two accepted in full, and seven partially accepted, watering down both the spirit and the intended consequences of the recommendations.
I have met many committed staff working in this area who care deeply and understand that the quality of their decision-making impacts directly on the lives of some incredibly vulnerable people. Equally, I have encountered mediocre casework and systemic delays which I will continue to call out.
- Second annual inspection of ‘Adults at risk in immigration detention.’ July 2020 – March 2021
- The Home Office responses to the Chief Inspector’s reports
This links well to the report of 24 November 2021: BBC – Brook House detention centre whistleblower ‘abuse’ inquiry begins
A public inquiry into the mistreatment of immigration detainees has heard a BBC Panorama documentary revealed “shocking” treatment which had “no place in a decent and humane” system.
The inquiry into Brook House removal centre, near Gatwick, is examining mistreatment of detainees, as well as the attitudes and culture of staff.
It follows a series of investigations triggered by Panorama in 2017.
At the time, G4S ran the Sussex centre, but Serco took it over last year.
The Brook House Inquiry has been set up to investigate the decisions, actions and circumstances surrounding the mistreatment of individuals who were detained at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) shown in the BBC Panorama programme “Under-Cover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets”, aired on 4 September 2017.
The Brook House Inquiry’s first phase of hearings will commence on the 23 November 2021 and will conclude on or before 10 December 2021. Hearings will generally run from 10am – 4pm Monday to Thursday and 09.30am – 1.30pm on Fridays. Details about the timetable for the week ahead will be published on our Hearings page.
Space at our venue is limited due to the need to maintain social distancing and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. As such, we advise you to book a seat specifying the date or session you wish to attend. This can be done up to 24 hours in advance of the date you wish to attend. If you turn up without a seat booking, you might be refused entry if we are full. We would also encourage you to read our Covid-19 information before attending. If you would prefer to follow the hearings virtually, all sessions are streamed live on our YouTube channel.
Talk to us
If you were detained at, working in, or involved with Brook House IRC between 1 April 2017 and 31 August 2017 and have information to support the Inquiry, please get in touch:
For individuals who were detained at Brook House: Were you detained at Brook House IRC between 1 April 2017 and 31 August 2017?Talk to us
For staff members: Were you a staff member at Brook House IRC between 1 April 2017 and 31 August 2017?Talk to us
If you wish to ask a question about the Inquiry or if you have information to support our investigations, please get in touch:
- You can call the Inquiry Information line on: 0800 181 4363. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. If lines are busy or you are calling out of hours, you may need to leave a message. We check this service regularly and we will get back to you.
- Please note that due to the impact of COVID-19, all calls using the freephone number will be directed to voicemail, which may result in a delayed response.
- You can also share your experiences by emailing us at enquiries@BrookHouseInquiry.org.uk.
Exclusive: Causes behind shocking abuse at removal centre in 2017 still of ‘huge relevance’, says Kate Eves
“Systemic issues” in the UK’s immigration detention system are likely to be behind the abuse scandal at Brook House removal centre four years ago, the chair of the inquiry into what happened at the facility has said.
Kate Eves, a prison safety expert who is leading a probe into the mistreatment of Brook House detainees shown in a BBC expose in 2017, said that her investigation still had “huge relevance” to broader Home Office policies today.
1 September 2017: Detention Forum: Our response to Brook House G4S staff abuse allegations
The Detention Forum statement in response to the news of G4S suspending its staff as part of abuse investigation.
‘We welcome the news that G4S has suspended nine staff members who are being investigated over allegations of abuse. We understand that this action was triggered by BBC Panorama’s undercover documentary which will be aired on Monday next week.
Such allegations must be thoroughly investigated. Any form of abuse is unacceptable.
However, scrutiny over immigration detention must not stop at improving how centre staff behave towards people held in immigration detention centres. We are deeply concerned about the lack of scrutiny of the UK government’s routine use of indefinite immigration detention. We should not forget that Brook House is only one of nine such detention centres in the UK, which lock up migrants without a time limit.
Deprivation of liberty must be an exceptional measure of last resort: yet the UK detains migrants routinely, locking up nearly 30,000 people a year for administrative reasons in prison-like conditions. UK is also the only country in Europe to detain migrants without a time limit, a practice that has been repeatedly criticised by monitoring bodies, including Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons.
Anyone who does not have a secure immigration status is at risk of detention. Detention separates families, including parents from their children.