source: The Guardian
published: 9 February 2017
The private security company G4S is to take over from a children’s charity the contract to provide welfare support to detained families facing deportation, the Home Office is expected to announce on Friday.
The Home Office has privately insisted that the much-criticised private security company can provide the “same key aspects of welfare support to families” as have been delivered by the current providers, Barnardo’s.
The decision has led to serious concerns being raised by the former Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, who secured an end to the routine immigration detention of children as part of the coalition government, and says it is “openly putting children at risk”.
The change of provider follows the closure of the underused Cedars “pre-departure accommodation” near Gatwick in December. The Cedars was opened in 2011 after the coalition agreement as part of new family deportation policy that encouraged families to leave voluntarily and gave a higher priority to the welfare of the children involved.
A new “discrete self-contained unit” at nearby Tinsley House immigration removal centre to handle family deportations is due to open in May.