117.The COMPASS project was designed to save around £140 million over the lifetime of the contracts but we are sceptical about whether it will deliver anywhere near this level of savings and there is evidence that costs and responsibilities have simply been passed from the Government to local authorities, third sector organisations and in some cases Providers.
118.We recommend that the National Audit Office undertake a further review of COMPASS, following up their previous report, to determine whether it will achieve the savings the Government expects and whether there has been a wider displacement of responsibilities and costs.
119.Given the significant problems we have identified, we believe that the COMPASS contracts should have been reviewed sooner, so that they could have been replaced with a better approach when the term of the contracts ended this year. It is disappointing that the Home Office did not do this and as a result has had to extend the existing COMPASS contracts while wider changes to the system are now considered. We recognise, however, that the fundamental changes required to these complex contracts need time to be properly developed and negotiated. In this Report we have made recommendations that look to the long-term future of the asylum system and should be considered as part of the process of putting together a successor to COMPASS. However, many of our recommendations, which would bring real improvements to the service asylum seekers receive, do not require further renegotiation, and should be implemented within six months.
24 January 2017