19 October 2022: ICIBI – An inspection of the use of hotels for housing unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) March – May 2022
This inspection examined the use of hotels to accommodate unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, with particular reference to the Home Office’s duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are in the United Kingdom.
Details: This inspection was not included in the Chief Inspector’s original 2021–2022 Inspection Plan but is a response to concerns raised with the inspectorate by stakeholders, and from the inspectorate’s own intelligence-gathering activities.
Extract added by QARN: symptomatic of how this system runs
4.15 In all but one of the hotels, the kitchens were permanently closed, and food had to be provided from another location. All the young people had every meal served in take-away containers as the use of plates was, according to contractor staff, not included in the contracts. The food was of mixed quality and the way in which it was provided missed an opportunity to create a more child-centred environment.
The inspection ran between March and May 2022 and included site visits to all four hotels on the south coast in use by the Home Office at that time.
The report makes 4 recommendations:
1. With immediate effect, prevent individuals without a clear enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check from residing and working within the hotels currently being used to house young people, and for any hotels used by the Home Office in the future. This should be checked routinely by team leaders, and the relevant Home Office operational manager.
2. Within one month, using external expertise if required, undertake a robust assessment of the collective needs of the young people housed in hotels, with due regard to Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) ‘best interests’ principle, to inform the development of standards, service design and operational delivery, to include the views, feedback and data from:
• children and young people housed in hotels
• contractor and Home Office staff, particularly Safeguarding Advice and Children’s Champion and the Safeguarding Hub
• management information collected by the operation
• external agencies (local authorities, NGOs and any other relevant experts)
3. Within 3 months, develop a challenge and scrutiny mechanism, drawing on internal and external expertise and the resources outlined in Recommendation 2, to monitor the delivery of the operation with a specific focus on safeguarding children’s welfare.
4. Within 6 months, develop, and begin delivering, a viable and sustainable exit strategy from the use of hotels which acknowledges the Home Office’s Section 55 duty and the principle of the ‘best interests’ of the child.
Read more: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1111982/An_inspection_of_the_use_of_hotels_for_housing_unaccompanied_asylum-seeking_children__UASC__March_to_May_2022.pdf
Independent: Home Office admits it is illegally housing unaccompanied child asylum seekers in hotels
‘We are running [unregulated] children’s homes and committing a criminal offence,’ internal documents say
Official documents show that the government identified over a year ago that the policy amounted to the creation of unregulated children’s homes, which ministers banned in February 2021.