House of Lords / 26 Jan 2010 : Column WA316
Asked by Baroness Stern
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many children were detained at Tinsley House immigration removal centre for more than 72 hours during 2009. [HL1125]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): During 2009, 111 children were detained at Tinsley for more than 72 hours. This figure is taken from local data normally used for management information only.
Following a recent internal review, however, we have taken the decision to limit the length of stay for children to just 24 hours, after which they will be transferred to Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre.
This is an interim measure pending a programme of changes we will be making at the centre to improve facilities for children.
26 January 2010
Tinsley House immigration removal centre at Gatwick airport, run by G4S, holds men, women and children, most of whom are awaiting removal. When we last visited, we expressed serious concerns at the plight of the small number of children and women held in this largely male establishment. On our return for this unannounced follow-up inspection, conditions had generally deteriorated and the arrangements for children and single women were now wholly unacceptable.
Since our last visit, Tinsley House had effectively become a satellite of its newly opened neighbour, Brook House. This much larger and more secure removal centre, also run by G4S, provided a single management team for both sites. Managers at Brook House had faced a range of teething problems, which appeared to have been the focus of most of their attention. The consequence, pointed out to us by staff and detainees at Tinsley House, was that services and provision there had suffered, and a more restrictive approach had been introduced. Our previous suggestion that the opening of Brook House might allow Tinsley House to be refurbished to hold only families and single women had been ignored and, instead, already inadequate provision for these most vulnerable detainees had declined further. Continue reading “Report on an unannounced short followup inspection of Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre 13–15 July 2009 by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons”
The following is a list of both repeated and further recommendations included in this report. The reference numbers in brackets refer to the paragraph location in the main report.
Main recommendations (from the previous report)
To the centre manager
3.1 If children are to remain at Tinsley House, their detention should be exceptional and only for a few days. (2.1)
3.2 If single women are to remain at Tinsley House, their distinct needs should be systematically identified and met. (2.2)
3.3 If children are to remain at Tinsley House, a qualified teacher should be employed to provide structured and planned education to meet the needs of school-age children. (2.7)
3.4 The centre should provide a welfare officer or team to help detainees prepare for their discharge. (2.8)
Recommendations To the chief executive, UKBA
3.5 Detainees should not be subjected to frequent, unexplained and disorienting transfers around the detention estate. (2.11)
3.6 Reviews of detention should be issued in good time, in a language the detainee can understand, and should reflect balanced consideration of all factors relevant to continuing detention. (2.13)
3.7 On-site staff should regularly review case files and flag up concerns to case holders. (2.14)
3.8 UKBA case owners should consider and respond promptly and fully to detainee applications for temporary release. (2.15)
3.9 Detainees should have sufficient time to confer with representatives before hearings that use the video link facility. (2.16)
3.10 In consultation with the centre, UKBA should ensure that all detainees receive a copy of the bail summary in due time before the hearing, and the on-site immigration team should monitor the receipt of bail summaries. (2.18)
3.11 Detainees who clearly demonstrate a health need should have a care plan. The nurse on duty should see the patient each shift and, if necessary, update the care plan. (2.21)
3.12 The practice of taking additional detainees as reserves to the airport as part of charter flight removals should cease. (2.38) Continue reading “Report into Tinsley House, Section 3: Summary of recommendations”
Breaking a promise to a child is a pretty mean thing to do. But it appears that the British government is struggling to keep the promises it has repeatedly made to children detained by the immigration authorities.
When inspectors paid a surprise visit to a removal centre near Gatwick in October, they found conditions had actually got worse since they last inspected the facility. Today, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons, Dame Ann Owers, described the arrangements for children at Tinsley House as “wholly unacceptable”.
Continue reading “Promises, promises: Tinsley House children detained by the immigration authorities”