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Home Secretary announces independent review of welfare in detention

The Home Secretary has announced an independent review of policies and procedures affecting the welfare of those held in immigration removal centres.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Home Office

It will seek to identify whether improvements can be made to safeguard the health and wellbeing of detainees, and those being escorted in the UK. Stephen Shaw CBE, a former Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales, has agreed to lead the review and will inspect detention facilities, review healthcare provision and scrutinise all Home Office policies and operational practices.

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

Immigration detention is a vital tool in helping ensure those with no right to remain in the UK are returned to their home country.

But 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.

We are building an immigration system that is fair to British nationals and legitimate migrants, but we must also ensure it treats those we are removing from the UK with an equal sense of fairness.

The review, which will begin in the coming weeks and is expected to last around six months, is likely to see Mr Shaw consult with a wide range of stakeholders including current and former detainees, charities, non-governmental organisations, other government departments, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and the President of the Independent Monitoring Board.

The announcement comes as the Home Office publishes the findings of a narrower, more focused external review of mental health issues in detention. In 2012, the Home Office commissioned the Tavistock Institute to consider the way mental health issues are dealt with in immigration detention. The Tavistock Institute’s Review of Mental Health Issues in Immigration Return Centres, along with the Home Office’s response to it, has been published today.

Read the Terms of Reference for the review

Published 9 February 2015