Serco Group plc ('Serco' or 'the Group'), the international service company, has signed a new contract with the UK Home Office Immigration Enforcement department to manage the Gatwick Immigration Removal Centres (IRC). The contract is expected to start on 21 May 2020 and has an estimated total contract value to Serco over an initial eight-year term of approximately £200m.
Under the new Gatwick IRC contract, Serco will manage and operate both the Brook House and Tinsley House IRCs, as well as providing Pre-Departure Accommodation (PDA) services which are currently operated under a separate contract and delivered from a dedicated unit within Tinsley House. Serco will be responsible for all aspects of detainee safety, security and welfare provision (excluding healthcare services which will continue to be operated under a separate contract commissioned by NHS England), together with facilities management and catering.
Serco will be recruiting around 170 additional employees, increasing overall staffing levels to approximately 580. This increase is intended to ensure stability and decency in the support and care for residents, and was mandated by the UK Home Office as part of the bid process. Current employees will transfer to Serco under TUPE. All existing and new staff will receive thorough training and management support to ensure that there is a positive culture and that high standards of professional conduct are maintained. A new programme of residents’ activities will also be introduced, including an extended core day and purposeful activities to improve the centre environment for all detainees and staff, in line with Home Office requirements.
Commenting on the contract award, Rupert Soames, Serco Group Chief Executive, said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded this new contract to manage the Gatwick Immigration Removal Centres. Serco has a great deal of experience of caring for people in the immigration system both in the UK and internationally, and we understand the sensitivity and complexity of this role. We know that staff and managers at Gatwick IRC have worked hard to achieve improvements in recent years and we look forward to working with them to build upon this further. The Home Office has made significant investment in the design and resourcing of the new contract, and we are committed to ensuring that there is a healthy, decent environment in the centres for all residents and employees.”