Immigration detention Contents

6Immigration removal centres – management and resources

Introduction

230.Six of the seven Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) on the immigration detention estate are contracted out to private outsourcing firms, G4S, Mitie, Serco and the GEO Group; one is managed on behalf of the Home Office by HM Prison and Probation Service.317 As we noted in our introduction, one of the key factors leading to our inquiry was the exposure of abuse of detainees by staff in Brook House Immigration Removal Centre (IRC). This chapter first examines the standards of healthcare provision available to people in immigration detention. We then explore various operational and resource factors that may have contributed to the failings of IRC management and ultimately the Home Office, to provide a “safe and secure environment” for those individuals detained not only in Brook House IRC but in other IRCs across the immigration detention estate.318

231.On 4 September 2017, a BBC Panorama undercover documentary revealed scenes of appalling physical and verbal abuse of detainees by some staff at Brook House IRC.319 Following the Panorama broadcast and our first evidence session on Brook House IRC, a number of staff were dismissed from Brook House IRC, and two independent reviews, by Kate Lampard and Ed Marsden, and Moore Stephens were commissioned by G4S on the causes of abuse that took place, as well as on alleged financial irregularities.320 Following legal proceedings brought by two detainees who featured in the BBC Panorama programme, the Home Office conceded to the appointment of the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) to undertake an investigation into the abuse of detainees at Brook House IRC. Duncan Lewis Solicitors said that this would be “the first investigation of its type into immigration detention for over 13 years”.321 The independent review of Brook House IRC by Kate Lampard and Ed Marsden was published on 4 December 2018.

G4S commissioned review of Brook House IRC

232.G4S has managed Brook House IRC since 2009 under a contract with the Home Office. The IRC holds up to 508 adult male detainees. The independent report [Lampard and Marsden] commissioned by G4S into behavioural and operational practices at Brook House IRC revealed a series of failings including inadequate facilities for detainees, understaffing, high staff turnover, insufficient activities, and an unacceptable standard of cleanliness.322 The Home Office was also criticised for focusing its monitoring of the G4S contract on compliance and removals at the expense of “wider concerns of the care and welfare of detainees”.323 In this Chapter, we first examine the available healthcare provision in immigration detention and then address some of the report’s findings in more detail.

Standards of healthcare provision in immigration detention

233.Detainees are entitled to the same range and quality of services as the general public receives in the community - this is often referred to as equivalence of care. Since 2013, NHS England has been responsible for commissioning healthcare in IRCs in England while healthcare provision for detention facilities in Scotland and Northern Ireland remains the responsibility of service providers.324 Medical Justice told us that they continued to be “extremely concerned about the quality of healthcare provided in immigration detention centres”, and that “the care provided fails to meet equivalence with that provided in the community [ … ]”.325

234.Stephen Shaw told the Committee that, at the time of his second review, “demand for healthcare remained extremely high”, and that “dissatisfaction with healthcare remained very high. Overall, my view was that there had been improvements”.326 In its report on Harmondsworth IRC, HMIP reported that there was an “inability of health services to meet the very high level of mental health need”.327 Despite the high demand for health care in IRCs, we heard that low staffing levels were routinely a source of dissatisfaction and frustration. The British Medical Association said that staffing shortages in healthcare “not only impact on the availability of health services and continuity of care, but also lead to tensions between healthcare staff and security staff if there is no capacity for a staff member to escort an individual to an external hospital appointment, or to monitor or supervise a detainee at risk”.328

235.Various studies have identified the negative impact of immigration detention on people’s mental health. Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2011 is a key mechanism for identifying vulnerable individuals in detention and bringing them to the attention of those responsible for authorising and reviewing detention. However, as outlined in in Chapter 4, this mechanism is not working for a variety of reasons including a lack of training for IRC medical practitioners to be able to provide good reports, coupled with poor interpretation of the reports by Home Office caseworkers.329 The British Medical Association proposed that there should be “a role for clinical leadership and advice within the Home Office”, with “a clinically qualified individual to advise on the development of health policy in relation to IRCs.” They also suggested that there should be “a clinically qualified point of contact within the Home Office for healthcare staff working in IRCs to seek advice from, particularly in relation to concerns they may have over rule 35 reports”.

236.Gemma Lousley, Policy and Research Co-ordinator at Women for Refugee Women, raised concerns with the Committee over the treatment of detainees by healthcare professionals:

[healthcare] is something that has been raised time and time again by the women we have spoken to. There is a culture of disbelief among the healthcare staff there. When women go and talk to mental health and other healthcare staff, it is assumed what they are saying about how they are feeling and what they are experiencing in terms of their health is not true.330

237.In a parliamentary debate on immigration detention on 6 March 2018, Gill Furniss MP raised the case of a constituent with a serious eye condition who was detained in Yarl’s Wood IRC. The Independent newspaper reported that:

“She was at risk of losing her eyesight,” she said, adding that it “had already left her blind in one eye, and if left untreated for any short amount of time risked her going blind in the other”. Although Yarl’s Wood IRC had been “made aware of this information she was left for some time before being seen by a nurse”, she said. “In the end my office had to intervene directly in order to ensure urgent medical assistance was provided to my constituent so as to avoid her losing her sight.331

238.Immigration Minister, Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP replied that individuals were given access to a health professional within two hours of their arrival at the centre and then had the ability to make an appointment with the GP within 24 hours. “It is really important that we provide healthcare to all of those in detention, which is why it’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” she said.332

239.The Home Office must meet its obligations to those individuals it detains in immigration removal centres (IRCs). This means that people should be able to access high quality healthcare, equivalent to that in the community. From the evidence we have heard, this is not always the case.

240.We support the British Medical Association’s call for clinical leadership and advice within the Home Office. The Home Office should consider the appointment of a clinically qualified individual to advise on the development of health policy specific to IRCs. In addition to this strategic role, the Home Office should ensure that there is a clinically qualified point of contact within the Home Office for IRC healthcare staff who may require advice relating to Rule 35 reports. Problems with recruitment and staff retention across the whole IRC workforce (including healthcare) must be urgently addressed to prevent staff shortages negatively affecting the health and wellbeing of detained individuals.

Understaffing

241.Various reports have been critical of staffing levels in IRCs. This includes shortages in security (e.g. detention custody officers) and healthcare staffing. In his first report, Stephen Shaw highlighted problems in recruiting permanent healthcare staff which he said had led to an overreliance on temporary staff in most IRCs.333 In his follow-up review, Shaw stressed the “pivotal” role that staff played in the “delivery of a safe and decent regime” but said that research had increasingly found that frontline officers’ capacity to deliver safe and decent regimes was “drawn into question”. He also conducted three visits to Brook House IRC and reported that it had experienced “a haemorrhage of staff”, ranging “between eight and fifteen departures per month”.334

242.The G4S commissioned investigation revealed a serious lack of staff at Brook House IRC. It noted that instead of the target of three to four staff to manage one residential wing, there was “on most days” only one detention custody manager managing two wings.335 The report also highlighted that gaps in staffing at Brook House IRC were “being increasingly filled by Tinsley House staff who did not welcome having to work in the more challenging environment of Brook House”.336 In evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Duncan Lewis Solicitors reported that they had seen:

“[ … ] regular and serious complaints from detained clients about the extended time periods during which they were locked in their cells at Brook House IRC, in overcrowded and insanitary cell conditions including unscreened toilets, with no lid for the toilet-bowl, and a lack of ventilation in the cell”.337

243.The immigration independent oversight bodies also identified problems with staffing levels in IRCs. HMIP’s most recent inspection of Harmondsworth IRC run by Mitie, found that, “Staffing levels were low and neither staff nor detainees felt that there were enough officers to effectively support detainees”.338 Similarly, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for Yarl’s Wood listed in its 2016 annual report a number of instances of staff shortages including:339

Lack of activity provision at Brook House IRC

244.Understaffing in IRCs impacts on the effective management of an IRC and detainees’ wellbeing. It means that activities including sports and entertainment programmes cannot be run to full capacity or not at all, facilities including libraries and cafes may not be open, and issues of substandard hygiene may be overlooked due to other pressing priorities. A lack of activity provision within an IRC can have a detrimental impact on detainees’ mental health, particularly more vulnerable detainees which may lead to an increased demand for and use of drugs. The Detention Centre Rules 2001 stipulate that:

All detained persons shall be provided with an opportunity to participate in activities to meet, as far as possible, their recreational and intellectual needs and the relief of boredom”.340

245.The BBC Panorama documentary criticised the availability of drugs in Brook House IRC. The G4S commissioned investigation into Brook House IRC found that “there had been a significant increase in drug use and drug finds in the centre, particularly of NPS [New Psychoactive Substances]”.341 When asked about the reasons for detainee drugs misuse, the deputy head of healthcare inspection told the investigation researchers that “People often do it to change how they feel, or to feel something different, or to pass the time”. She added that boredom was “often a big trigger”.342

246.The G4S commissioned investigation into Brook House IRC drew attention to the limited provision of activities and entertainment for detainees at Brook House due to under-resourcing and a lack of space. Detainees told them that for two weeks in March 2018 they “did not even have an unpunctured football to play with”.343 The investigation reported that on an unannounced weekend visit to Brook House they “found no organised activities for the detainees”.344 The report compared provision and resourcing of activities for detainees at Brook House IRC with that at Colnbrook IRC and found that Brook House “compared poorly”.345 Detainees told the investigation researchers that, “Activities are essential to keep the mind active and avoid getting depressed. Inactivity leads to fights and trouble”.346 Due to its size, lay out and limited outdoor space the report concluded that, Brook House IRC was “an unsuitable environment in which to hold detainees for more than a few weeks”.347

247.It is evident from the G4S commissioned investigation into Brook House IRC that the activities and facilities available to detainees at Brook House have drastically failed to meet the statutory requirements as outlined in the Detention Centre Rules 2001. The Home Office must take a more robust approach to ensure that Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) providers maintain adequate staffing levels and resources so that sufficient activities are available to detainees. Low staffing levels mean that people are locked up for longer periods of time, face to face communication is limited and IRC facilities are more likely to be closed (e.g. libraries, cafés, IT facilities) all of which compound levels of frustration and mental health issues among detainees and staff. This can lead to increased levels of self-harm as well as violence among detainees and towards IRC staff. In the event of a serious incident, a lack of staff could have detrimental consequences for everyone’s safety within an IRC.

Culture of abuse

248.Levels of abuse and violent behaviour have been reported across the immigration detention estate. The increase in violence in some IRCs has been variously attributed to frustration at the length of detention and delays in casework progressing, staff shortages and the prison-like atmosphere.348 Although our inquiry was triggered by undercover reporting of abuse in Brook House IRC, this is sadly not the first time such allegations have been made. As UNHCR highlighted, “[ … ] in his role as Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, Stephen Shaw investigated concerns similar to those identified in the Panorama documentary, and in 2004 and 2005 he carried out two inquiries into allegations of racist mistreatment within Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) and Oakington IRC”.349

249.In March 2015, a Channel 4 undercover documentary on Serco run Yarl’s Wood IRC had made allegations about the way residents were treated by staff.350 James Wilson, Director, Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group, told us in 2017 that the revelations from Yarl’s Wood in 2015 were about very similar things, “with staff being abusive and disrespectful”. He told us that, “It feels like these things happen, are addressed or not at the time, and then drift off the public radar”.351 The Committee heard from Serco in 2018 that five employees at Yarl’s Wood had been dismissed in the last five years following allegations of abuse.352 The most recent HMIP report (2017) found that “there had been significant improvements at the centre” and that “there was little violence”.353 However, the Committee also heard from a former Yarl’s Wood detainee who described staff openly mocking her, and putting their fingers in her eyes after she collapsed:

What they are doing, they turn off the camera and say they do not do stuff like that. I collapsed coming out from the bathroom. They were poking my eyes, forcing me, telling me, “You need to eat. You want to kill yourself? You are a stupid girl.” They mimic me sometimes when I say something. They repeat it in a very funny way and they laugh about it. To me, that is just not right. It is wrong for them to do that. There are good ones but the majority of them, they need monitoring of them.354

Whistleblowing procedures

250.In September 2017, we heard evidence from Rev. Nathan Ward, a former duty manager at Brook House IRC who featured in the BBC Panorama programme. He joined G4S in 2001 and had worked as duty director at Brook House for three-and-a-half years before resigning in 2014. He told the Committee that he had systematically raised concerns at the highest levels about “practice within G4S since 2001” and that upon his resignation from Brook House IRC he had also complained directly to Jerry Petherick, the Managing Director Custody and Detention Centres at G4S, about inappropriate staff behaviour towards detainees, and management culture.355 In response, Jerry Petherick told us that, “There may well have been general conversation about ethos and so forth” but that “he did not raise any specific complaints about individuals”.356

251.Following the BBC Panorama programme and ongoing questions around G4S’ whistleblowing procedures, the Home Office asked Stephen Shaw to consider the effectiveness of whistle-blowing procedures as one of the topics to be considered in his follow-up review.357 As part of his research, Shaw requested copies of whistle-blowing procedures for each of the companies running IRCs and concluded that all of them appeared to meet best practice as outlined in the BIS whistleblowing guidance for employers. However, he added that it was not clear to him “how often the whistle-blowing procedures are actually invoked”.358 As a way of enforcing whistleblowing arrangements, Stephen Shaw recommended that IRC staff should have “safe spaces in which they can discuss what they have done well (and less well) without fear of disciplinary repercussions”.359

252.Following an inspection at Harmondsworth IRC in 2017, HMIP reported that: “Staff knowledge of whistleblowing policies or procedures was weak or non-existent for many”.360 Similarly, at the most recent inspection of Tinsley House, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons reported that:

Most staff told us they would report safeguarding concerns, although none had made any reports. A minority of staff said they would not report concerns, because they did not trust managers or believe confidentiality would be respected. The whistle-blowing process was convoluted and potentially off-putting.361

253.We also learnt that a detainee at Brook House IRC had experienced abuse as a consequence of whistleblowing. Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group told us that they had “supported a person detained who sought to ‘whistle blow’ about guards who appeared to be dealing drugs who was subsequently assaulted in Brook House after providing this information”.362 Rev. Ward highlighted that, from his experience, detainees’ “main concern about making complaints is that it might affect their immigration case, which might cause reluctance. At Tinsley House I was worried when no detainees made any complaints in a three-month period and I actively encouraged them to do so”.363

254.The G4S commissioned review of Brook House reported concerns with the G4S whistleblowing procedure that were consistent with the evidence we heard during our inquiry. The report noted that some staff who had “challenged colleagues who they felt had behaved inappropriately” had consequently experienced “bullying and victimisation”.364 The report also highlighted that, following the BBC Panorama programme, large posters were displayed across Brook House IRC “to draw attention to the G4S whistleblowing policy known as Speak Out”. However, the policy’s emphasis on wrongdoing of a commercial nature or amongst senior staff undermined its relevance to ordinary staff at Brook House who may have wanted to raise concerns about inappropriate behaviour by fellow detention custody officers and frontline managers.365 Consequently, staff “did not have confidence in the Speak Out arrangements”.366

255.The disgraceful abuse of detainees by staff that was revealed by undercover journalism at Brook House IRC is sadly not the first of its kind. As Stephen Shaw told the Committee, “potential for abusive behaviours is ever-present [ … ] in closed institutions”.367 Stephen Shaw’s follow up review reported that whistleblowing procedures met good practice in all of the IRCs he visited. Yet, despite what is written on paper, it is evident from the abhorrent abuse that took place in Brook House IRC that many IRC staff and detainees are not using the whistleblowing channels available to them. IRC staff and detainees simply do not trust the process, and have voiced concerns about confidentiality and potential repercussions to their safety.

256.The Home Office must take immediate steps to ensure that all IRCs have robust and effective whistleblowing procedures in place which IRC staff and detainees can use with complete confidence, knowing that they will be fully protected. IRC managers should ensure that both staff and detainees are regularly made aware of the whistle blowing procedures, providing clear written and verbal explanations of what the policy is for, with user friendly whistleblowing toolkits and publicity made available across the IRC. Staff and detainees should also be given explicit reassurance that they would be supported if they raised concerns about any wrongdoing or misconduct they witnessed. Failure to do so may result in further abuses across the immigration detention estate.

257.IRC staff should receive comprehensive training on whistleblowing processes which should be refreshed regularly. In line with Stephen Shaw, we support the provision of a “safe space” for IRC staff to reflect on what they have done well, and less well without fear of discipline or management action. The details of how such a safe space might work should urgently be explored by the Government in consultation with IRC staff and senior managers and reported back to our Committee by 1 December 2019.

Staff culture

258.In his follow-up review, Shaw said that “the systems for recruitment, training and whistle-blowing used by the individual contractors, and the processes for handling complaints and ensuring independent monitoring, are all satisfactory so far as they go. But manifestly they have not prevented abuses of the kind revealed by the BBC”.368 As part of his review, Shaw co-hosted a seminar on staff culture with Professor Mary Bosworth from Oxford University, bringing together academics and others to reflect on culture and best practice across the police, prisons, NHS, and IRCs.369 One attendee, Dr Paul Quinton from the College of Policing, spoke about police culture and shared a number of strategies for reducing police wrongdoing that could be applied to other institutions. These included, “encouraging whistleblowing”, “Ensuring robust internal supervision and accountability” and “promoting an ethical culture”.370 Stephen Shaw also commended findings from a College of Policing paper which stressed “the importance of strong and effective leadership–leaders who are open, act as role models, but are also ‘firm’ in terms of setting and enforcing standards and encouraging ethical behaviour”.371 Shaw recommended “that the Home Office should strengthen its own assurance processes to examine adherence to professional standards and staff culture in IRCs on a regular basis”.372

259.The G4S commissioned investigation into Brook House IRC reported that some detainees “found their interaction with staff “dehumanising” and that staff lacked “training and experience”. The report highlighted that “detainees were particularly critical of the attitude of healthcare staff whom they described as “uncaring”, “arrogant” and “unkind””. However, the detainees did not suggest that there were “significant or widespread problems with poor or abusive behaviours by staff”.373 On staff culture at Brook House, the report concluded that:

We are concerned that the absence of strong and visible management arrangements, ensuring the modelling and reinforcement of the behaviours expect of staff; the lack of staff and the inexperience of many; and the assertive laddish culture among the DCMs [Detention Custody Managers] and DCOs [Detainee Custody Officers] heightens the risk of inappropriate behaviour by staff.374

260.During our inquiry, the issue of “culture” was also raised in relation to Home Office staff. Rev. Nathan Ward, a former duty manager at Brook House IRC, told us that “it is a culture set not just by G4S but, far wider, by the Home Office”. He explained that while at Brook House, a member of the Home Office had said to him, “It’s all about who breaks first, whether the detainees or the Home Office, in relation to immigration cases”.375 Mr Ward argued that the immigration detention system had become very “politicised” and that while working at Brook House, a senior civil servant “was telling us that we were under tremendous pressure to get people through the system and deport them in that year in particular, because it was that year’s statistics that would be reported just before the general election”.376

261.A healthy staff culture requires strong and effective leadership with managers who are open, supportive, act as role models, but are also firm with regard to setting and enforcing standards and encouraging ethical behaviour. Preventative steps should be taken by managers to mitigate any unethical conduct by taking remedial action where appropriate and avoiding a blame culture which discourages transparency and honesty. We support Stephen Shaw’s recommendation and call on the Home Office to urgently monitor more closely the policies, procedures and practices of its immigration detention contractors in order to more effectively expose inappropriate behaviour. Equally, the Home Office should review its equivalent professional standards policies and procedures with immediate effect and ensure that Home Office staff receive comprehensive training on upholding professional standards and promoting a healthy staff culture.

Formal oversight mechanisms of IRCs

262.The BBC Panorama revelations of deplorable abuse and assault of detainees at Brook House IRC called in to question the effectiveness of the formal independent oversight mechanisms currently in place. Independent oversight of IRCs is provided by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Independent Monitoring Boards, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.377

263.When we asked Rev. Nathan Ward about the current effectiveness of oversight mechanisms for immigration detention, he told us that he thought HMIP was “a very good and robust inspectorate, but it can only inspect what it sees on the day it turns up”. He highlighted that Home Office staff were on site and “should be looking on a day-by-day basis at what is going on, and raising pertinent questions”. However, he argued that “the culture within that group itself most probably isn’t one that has sufficient curiosity”.378 When asked if G4S placed sufficient emphasis on detainee welfare, he told us that the relationship between G4S and the Home Office had “become too close” and that part of the problem was that the Home Office was “reliant on G4S as an operator to actually undertake what it needs to do”.379 Similarly, the G4S commissioned investigation into Brook House IRC noted that it was struck during a meeting` with the IMB “by a sense of collegiality between the IMB and G4S and a tendency on the part of IMB members to over-empathise with the G4S management team and the Home Office, rather than to hold them vigorously to account and press them on their plans for action to address concerns and make improvements at Brook House”.380

264.Freed Voices, a group of people with lived experience whose members have been held in immigration detention, argued that immigration detention was severely lacking in transparency and scrutiny. They said:

It is of note that this inquiry has only come about following the release of undercover footage from a whistleblower. The lack of transparency around detention - restricted access of independent monitors, public taxpayers or journalists, the forbidden use of cameras, limited access to external communications platforms - should all be strong indicators that the Home Office would prefer to keep detention centres ‘out of sight, out of mind’ for a reason.381

265.Medical Justice told us that, “The scale of the detention estate, its routine nature and the culture that this has encouraged have arguably taken it beyond the capacity for effective oversight. The repeated accusations and documentation of abusive behaviour indicates a deeper issue with staff culture across the agencies in the detention system”.382

266.HMIP had inspected Brook House in 2016 and assessed it as “reasonably good” in all four of its healthy establishment tests”.383 Similarly, in their 2016 annual report, the Brook House Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) judged Brook House IRC to be “a well-run establishment, providing a decent environment where detainees awaiting removal are treated humanely and fairly”.384 The abuse at Brook House took place some time after HMIP’s inspection and in evidence to the Committee, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Peter Clarke told us that:

[ … ] it was of great concern to us to understand whether or not our inspection, which is inevitably a snapshot, had missed something wrong in terms of culture or ill-treatment.385

267.Peter Clarke added that, “neither the senior management of the centre nor the independent monitoring board, who are there all the time, nor the Home Office monitors, nor the many NGOs who work in the centre, they did not appear to be aware of what was going on either”. Following the events at Brook House IRC, HMIP introduced an “enhanced methodology at subsequent inspections”. This involved offering every detainee a confidential interview with the inspectors. Hindpal Singh Bhui, HMIP inspection team leader added that the inspectorate also now conducted a full staff survey and interviewed a number of staff from all agencies working in the centre. In addition, HMIP wrote to the NGOs involved in the centre in advance of an inspection and also invited ex-detainees to speak to them.386

268.The G4S independent review into Brook House IRC looked at the formal oversight mechanisms of Brook House and suggested that “more focused questioning of staff and frontline managers might have more clearly identified some of these issues”. However, the report did not state that IMB or HMIP should have “uncovered or predicted behaviours of the type shown in the Panorama film”. They welcomed HMIP’s enhanced methodology that it had started to incorporate as part of its inspection process.387

269.The formal oversight mechanisms currently in place to ensure effective, safe and humane management of IRCs are clearly not working; this is evident from the disgusting abuse of detainees by some staff revealed by an undercover journalist at Brook House IRC in 2017. Six of the seven IRCs across the UK are contracted out to a handful of outsourcing firms including G4S, Serco, Mitie and the GEO group. Accountability for any serious misconduct rests with the Home Office, which is ultimately responsible for the effective operation of our immigration detention estate. We must not forget too that the Home Office monitoring staff were on site and did not raise any concerns about wrongdoing at Brook House IRC.

270.It is clear from the evidence we heard that the Home Office has utterly failed in its responsibilities to oversee and monitor the safe and humane detention of individuals in the UK. Consequently, we strongly welcome the Home Office’s agreement on 11 October 2018 to conduct an independent inquiry into the maltreatment of detainees by some staff at Brook House. Over four months later, on 5 March 2019, we were advised by the Home Office that the terms of reference had been agreed. We are deeply concerned about the length of time it has taken for the Home Office to agree the terms of reference for such a crucial inquiry. We look forward to seeing the published terms of reference at the first opportunity.

Financial irregularities at Brook House IRC

271.As well as questioning witnesses about the abuse of detainees at Brook House IRC, the Committee heard allegations of financial mismanagement at Brook House IRC from Rev. Nathan Ward, who had worked there as a duty manager for a number of years. He told the Committee that it was plausible that people working for G4S [at Brook House IRC] had deliberately been giving false information to the Home Office about staffing costs and claiming for things that were not provided.388 The Guardian reported G4S making profits of 20%, more than its contract allowed. In an interview with the Guardian, Rev. Nathan Ward said that, “when he worked at G4S, profit margins above the agreed Home Office limit were discussed”. He told the Guardian that “he sat in trading reviews where profits of around 20% were declared, which were far in excess of what was envisaged in the original contract”.389 The Home Office told us that they “had no grounds to believe or suspect that there may have been inappropriate practices in the financial management of Brook House IRC”.390

272.On 16 November 2017, Moore Stephens were commissioned to conduct an independent audit of billings for Brook House IRC made by G4S to ensure that these were in accordance with the contract and to review the profit made by G4S over the life of the contract. It was not until 5 March 2019 that we were advised by the Home Office, despite repeated requests from our Committee secretariat for information pertaining to the review, that the Government had received the audit in May 2018. We were then advised that G4S had provided the Home Office with its report marked as Commercial in confidence. The Home Office confirmed to us that the report advised information provided to the Home Office was accurate with regard to reporting of profits and that billing was in accordance with the contract. However, no public assurance has been given either by the Home Office, or G4S, although the contract is funded by the tax payer.

273.During our inquiry we were extremely concerned to hear evidence of alleged financial misconduct at Brook House IRC, with reports that profits reached above what was agreed in G4S’s contract with the Home Office. The Home Office has ultimate oversight of G4S’s publicly-funded contract with Brook House IRC. Given the widespread public concerns voiced over G4S’s management of Brook House in 2017 we are astonished that, for ten months, the Government has ducked the question and missed the opportunity to assuage such concerns by reporting the outcomes of the Moore Stephens review. Such behaviour does not help to instil confidence in the Government’s management of publicly-funded contracts.


317 The Guardian, Britain’s immigration detention: how many people are locked up? 11 October 2018;. Office User Guide to Immigration Statistics, 28 February 2019, p87.

318 The Detention Centre Rules 2001: Rule 3 (1) of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 state that: The purpose of detention centres shall be to provide for the secure but humane accommodation of detained persons in a relaxed regime with as much freedom of movement and association as possible, consistent with maintaining a safe and secure environment. Rule 39(1) stipulates that: Security shall be maintained, but no more restriction than is required for safe custody and well-ordered community life.

319 Undercover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets, was broadcast on 4 September 2017; Callum Tulley, a former detainee custody officer at Brook House became a whistleblower following violence and abuse he witnessed there. He wore hidden cameras for the BBC Panorama investigation.

320 1) The Home Affairs Select Committee took evidence on Brook House IRC on 17 September. 2) Specialist consultancy Verita was commissioned by G4S to carry out an independent review to understand the extent and root causes of the treatment of detainees at Brook House. The review was led by Kate Lampard CBE and published on 4 December 2018. 3) Moore Stephens was commissioned to conduct an independent audit of billings made by G4S to ensure that these are in accordance with the contract and to review the profit made by G4S over the life of the contract. G4S advised that the findings of this review would be presented directly to the Home Office and the G4S Audit Committee, which is comprised wholly of independent non-executive directors. See written evidence from G4S (BRK0014)

321 Duncan Lewis Solicitors, Home Office in major U-turn agrees to Article 3-compliant investigation by PPO into abuse at Brook House IRC (11 October 2018): “The detainees’ case was that a review was needed of the systemic and institutional failings of the Home Office and G4S’s running of detention centres as well as the indications of racism, and a cultural indifference to human suffering that allowed such abuse of detainees and their welfare to be placed at such risk”.

322 Kate Lampard, Ed Marsden, Independent investigation into concerns about Brook House immigration removal centre, November 2018. Executive summary and recommendations.

323 Ibid, p31.

325 Medical Justice (IDD0020)

327 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre Harmondsworth site, p6.

328 British Medical Association (BMA) (IDD0019)

332 Ibid

334 Stephen Shaw, Assessment of government progress in implementing the report on the welfare in detention of vulnerable persons A follow-up report to the Home Office, July 2018, Annex 7, p172; Shaw visited Brook House IRC on 26 September 2017, 9 November 2017 and 31 January 2018.

336 Ibid, p10, 1.29; Under a separate contract with the Home Office, G4S also manages Tinsley House, another IRC near Gatwick Airport, under the same senior management team as Brook House. Brook House and Tinsley House are known collectively as Gatwick IRCs.

337 Duncan Lewis Solicitors (IMD0047)

340 The Detention Centre Rules 2001, Regime and paid activity, Rule 17 (1).

341 Kate Lampard, Ed Marsden, Independent investigation into concerns about Brook House immigration removal centre, November 2018, p208, 12.79; New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) are chemically based drugs designed for recreational purposes.

342 Kate Lampard, Ed Marsden, Independent investigation into concerns about Brook House immigration removal centre, November 2018, p182, 11.56.

344 Ibid, p134, 9.31.

345 Ibid, p138, 9.49.

346 Ibid, p138, 9.51.

347 Ibid, p139, 9.55.

349 UNHCR (BRK0008)

353 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Report on an unannounced inspection of Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, 5–7, 12–16 June 2017, p5.

358 In March 2015, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS, now BEIS) published a guide for businesses, Whistle-blowing: Guidance for Employers and Code of Practice. The document outlined the principles of an effective whistleblowing system.

360 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre Harmondsworth site, p89.

361 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Report on an unannounced inspection of Tinsley House IRC, 30 August 2018, p14; Tinsley House is close to Gatwick Airport. It has the capacity to hold 162 men and has a suite to accommodate families denied entry to the UK.

362 Gatwick Detainees’ Welfare Group (BRK0006)

364 Kate Lampard Ed Marsden, Independent investigation into concerns about Brook House immigration removal centre, A report for the divisional chief executive of G4S Care and Justice and the main board of G4S plc, November 2018, p22, 13.41.

366 Ibid, p29, 1.135.

369 Ibid, Annex 10, p207.

370 Ibid, p110

371 Ibid, p110

372 Ibid, p114

377 HM Inspectorate of Prison’s remit includes reporting on the treatment of and conditions for people held in IRCs. Independent Monitoring Boards have a statutory duty to monitor the conditions and operation of IRCs. They have a right to monitor the way that complaints are managed, and a statutory obligation to hear complaints sent to them from detainees; they also publish reports. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman’s remit includes hearing complaints from detainees who have already exhausted the Home Office’s internal complaints procedures; and conducting investigations into deaths occurring in the estate. The remit of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration also extends to immigration detention cases.

381 Freed Voices (BRK0010)

382 Medical Justice (IDD0020)

384 Independent Monitoring Boards, Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Board for Brook House Immigration Removal Centre, 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016, p7.

390 Home Office (BRK0013)




Published: 21 March 2019