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Home Office releases Shaw review into the welfare of vulnerable persons in immigration detention


Stephen Shaw's comprehensive 349-page review of immigration detention published

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The Home Office has today published the review by Stephen Shaw into the welfare of vulnerable persons in immigration detention.

Image credit: WikipediaShaw's review runs to a lengthy 349 pages and you can access it from here. A short Government response to the review can be accessed here.

The Home Secretary announced the independent review last February, saying: "I take the welfare of those in the government's care very seriously and I want to ensure the health and wellbeing of all detainees, some of whom may be vulnerable, is safeguarded at all times. That is why I have asked Stephen Shaw, who has a wealth of relevant experience, to undertake a comprehensive review of our immigration detention estate"

In his review, Stephen Shaw states: "As my report makes clear, healthcare and particularly the impact of detention upon detainees' mental health, has been at the heart of this review. For that reason alone, it is not possible to distinguish the fact of detention from the consequences for welfare and vulnerability. As a result, while the many proposals I make in this report should improve care and wellbeing, and ensure that the most vulnerable do not suffer unnecessarily, in themselves they do not go far enough."

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire responded to the review in a written statement to the Commons here, saying the Government accepts the "broad thrust" of Shaw's recommendations. Brokenshire said that the Government would make a number of reforms and broader changes in legislation, policy and operational approaches, and it expects these to lead to a reduction in the number of those detained, and the duration of detention before removal, in turn improving the welfare of those detained.

The Guardian covered the release of the review here, noting that Shaw called for ministers to reduce “boldly and without delay” the 30,000 people detained each year, and he concluded: “There is too much detention; detention is not a particularly effective means of ensuring that those with no right to remain do in fact leave the UK; and many practices and processes associated with detention are in urgent need of reform.”

The Shaw review makes over 60 recommendations, which we've excerpted below:

Recommendation 1: I recommend that the Home Office prepare and publish a strategic plan for immigration detention.

Recommendation 2: The Home Office should consider how far it can encourage a more cohesive system through more joint training and planning, shared communications, and a recognition scheme.

Recommendation 3: Where weaknesses in particular policies have been identified in Mr Cheeseman's audit, I recommend these be remedied at their next iteration.

Recommendation 4: I recommend that work to amend the Detention Centre Rules commence following the Home Office's consideration of this review.

Recommendation 5: I recommend that the Home Office draw up plans either to close Cedars or to change its use as a matter of urgency.

Recommendation 6: Given my observations at each of the Heathrow terminals and at Cayley House, Tascor should arrange for refresher training for its staff on their duty of care, and the need for proper and meaningful engagement with detainees.

Recommendation 7: I recommend that a discussion draft of the short term holding centre rules be published as a matter of urgency.

Recommendation 8: The Home Office should review the adequacy of the numbers of immigration staff embedded in all prisons.

Recommendation 9: I recommend that there should be a presumption against detention for victims of rape and other sexual or gender-based violence. (For the avoidance of doubt, I include victims of FGM as coming within this definition.)

Recommendation 10: I recommend that the Home Office amend its guidance so that the presumptive exclusion from detention for pregnant women is replaced with an absolute exclusion.

Recommendation 11: I recommend that the words 'which cannot be satisfactorily managed in detention' are removed from the section of the EIG that covers those suffering from serious mental illness.

Recommendation 12: I recommend that those with a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder should be presumed unsuitable for detention.

Recommendation 13: I recommend that people with Learning Difficulties should be presumed unsuitable for detention. 194

Recommendation 14: I recommend that transsexual people should be presumed unsuitable for detention.

Recommendation 15: I recommend that the wording in paragraph 55.10 of the EIG in respect of elderly people be tightened to include a specific upper age limit.

Recommendation 16: I recommend that a further clause should be added to the list in paragraph 55.10 of the EIG to reflect the dynamic nature of vulnerability and thus encompass 'persons otherwise identified as being sufficiently vulnerable that their continued detention would be injurious to their welfare'.

Recommendation 17: I recommend that the Home Office consider establishing a joint policy with NOMS on provision for those held in prison under immigration powers.

Recommendation 18: I recommend that the Home Office consider what learning there is for IRCs from the Prison Service's experience of operating 'first night centres' for those initially received into custody.

Recommendation 19: The Home Office should consider the need for a separate DSO on LGBI detainees. Anti-bullying policies should include explicit reference to LGBTI detainees.

Recommendation 20: The Home Office should consider introducing a single gatekeeper for detention.

Recommendation 21: I recommend that the Home Office immediately consider an alternative to the current rule 35 mechanism. This should include whether doctors independent of the IRC system (for example, Forensic Medical Examiners) would be more appropriate to conduct the assessments as well as the training implications.

Recommendation 22: I further recommend that rule 35 (or its replacement) should apply to those detainees held in prisons as well as those in IRCs.

Recommendation 23: Once the NOMS review of ACCT is complete, there should be an urgent review of ACDT and DSO 06/2008, informed by the NOMS review and by the findings of this report.

Recommendation 24: I note that DSO 03/2013 on food and fluid refusal is currently the subject of internal review within the Home Office. I recommend that the review consider alternatives to treatment within a prison or IRC in light of my discussion of this issue. 195

Recommendation 25: I recommend that the Home Office commission a formal review of the quality of PERs and that any deficiencies are addressed. In the meantime, all staff should be reminded of the importance of completing PERs fully.

Recommendation 26: I recommend that the Home Office consider how rapidly it can move towards a system of electronic record keeping for the PER and IS91RA.

Recommendation27: I recommend that the Home Office conduct an annual audit (or ask for an independent audit) of the RSRA process so that it remains an effective means of ensuring detainee safety.

Recommendation 28: The Home Office should consider if the allocation criteria and processes to which DEPMU operates could be strengthened.

Recommendation 29: I recommend that the Home Office and the Department of Health work together to consider whether current arrangements for safeguarding are adequate.

Recommendation 30: The internet access policy should be reviewed with a view to increasing access to sites that enable detainees to pursue and support their immigration claim, to prepare for their return home, and which enable them to maximise contact with their families. This should include access to Skype and to social media sites like Facebook.

Recommendation 31: I recommend that the Home Office reconsider its approach to pay rates for detainees in light of my comments on the benefits of allowing contractors greater flexibility.

Recommendation 32: I recommend that all IRCs should review the range of activities offered to detainees; in particular, those that could provide skills to detainees that would be useful on their return to their home country.

Recommendation 33: I recommend that the Home Office review detainees' access to natural light and to the open air, and invite contractors to bring forward proposals to increase the time that detainees can spend outside.

Recommendation 34: The Home Office should no longer require contractors to operate an Incentives and Earned Privileges Scheme.

Recommendation 35: I recommend that the service provider at Yarl's Wood should only conduct searches of women and of women's rooms in the presence of men in the most extreme and pressing circumstances, and that there should be monitoring and reporting of these cases.

Recommendation 36: I recommend that Home Office Detention Operations carry out an audit of reception and holding environments to ensure that the policy on searching out of sight of other people is properly followed. 196

Recommendation 37: I recommend that the Home Office consider amalgamating and modernising rules 40 and 42.

Recommendation 38: The Home Office should review all the rule 40 and rule 42 accommodation to ensure that it is fit for purpose. All contractors should be asked for improvement plans to ensure that the name Care and Separation Unit is something more than a euphemism.

Recommendation 39: I recommend that the Home Office should routinely publish statistics on the number of transfers of detainees between IRCs and STHFs.

Recommendation 40: The Home Office should review the use made of regional airports for removals.

Recommendation 41: I recommend that the Home Office negotiate night-time closures at each IRC, the times of which should reflect local circumstances.

Recommendation 42: I recommend that the practice of overbooking charter flights should cease.

Recommendation 43: I recommend that the Home Office consider if the inspection arrangements for IRCs can ensure the involvement of the ICI.

Recommendation 44: I recommend that the Home Office liaise with the Ministry of Justice to ensure that all IMBs in IRCs have sufficient membership at all times.

Recommendation 45: I recommend that the Home Office seek the views of the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health on extending section 75 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to IRCs, prisons and mental hospitals.

Recommendation 46: I recommend that the Home Office review the use of fellow detainees as interpreters for induction interviews.

Recommendation 47: I recommend that the Home Office remind service providers of the need to use professional interpreting facilities whenever language barriers are identified on reception.

Recommendation 48: Home Office staff should be reminded that, to ensure continuity of care, detainees should not be transferred when there is clinical advice to the contrary.

Recommendation 49: The Home Office and NHS England should promote the self-administration of drugs where risk assessments support that approach. 197

Recommendation 50: I recommend that the Home Office, in consultation with NHS England, draw up explicit guidelines as to: • What informed consent looks like • What information can be shared between all parties in the event that informed consent to the release of clinical information is granted by the detainee.

Recommendation 51: I further recommend that an alternative to SystmOne be pursued for those detention facilities not in England.

Recommendation 52: As part of its response to future growth in the demand for healthcare, NHS England needs to ensure the filling of permanent healthcare vacancies in IRCs as a priority.

Recommendation 53: I recommend that the Home Office, in association with service providers, consider what can be done to reduce the use of new psychoactive substances and to advise detainees on the effects of their misuse.

Recommendation 54: The Home Office should draw up a research strategy for immigration detention. In particular, it should consider commissioning clinical studies on the impact of detention upon women, and research aimed at improving models of care.

Recommendation 55: The Home Office and NHS England should conduct a clinical assessment of the level and nature of mental health concerns in the immigration detention estate.

Recommendation 56: I recommend that the creation of care suites across the IRC estate should be taken forward as a priority.

Recommendation 57: I recommend that talking therapies become an intrinsic part of healthcare provision in immigration detention.

Recommendation 58: I recommend that the Home Office, NHS England, and the Department for Health develop a joint action plan to improve the provision of mental health services for those in immigration detention.

Recommendation 59: I recommend that all caseworkers should meet detainees on whom they are taking decisions or writing monthly detention reviews at least once. The meeting should be face-to-face, or by video link, or by telephone.

Recommendation 60: The Home Office should examine its processes for carrying out detention reviews, including looking at training requirements, arrangements for signing off cases at a senior level, and auditing arrangements. 198

Recommendation 61: As part of the examination of its own processes that I have proposed, I recommend that the Home Office consider if and what ways an independent element can be introduced into detention decision making.

Recommendation 62: I recommend that the Home Office give further consideration to ways of strengthening the legal safeguards against excessive length of detention.

Recommendation 63: I recommend that the Home Office investigate the development of alternatives to detention.

Recommendation 64: I recommend that the Home Office consider how far electronic monitoring can contribute to the goal of fair and efficient border control.