Serco, which manages the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre on behalf of the Home Office, welcomes the latest inspection report on the centre by Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons. The Chief Inspector found that “there had been significant improvements at the centre”, noting “inspectors came away from Yarl’s Wood impressed with the progress the centre had made since the last inspection” and commenting that “the leadership and staff could and should take much of the credit for the improvements.”
The report found: “Significant steps had been taken to create an environment that was appropriate for an immigration removal centre. Security measures were by and large proportionate, the centre was clean and there was not the sense of restriction and confinement that one often finds in such establishments. Women were able to move freely around the centre, and the relationships between staff and detainees seemed generally positive and respectful.”
The report also notes that “the atmosphere at the centre was far calmer, respectful and relaxed”, in part due to “a number of initiatives that had been introduced to improve communication and support.” “The range of activities that was made available for detainees was good. The cultural kitchens were highly valued, as was the gym, hairdressing salon and various arts and crafts.”
The Chief Inspector concludes: “It was pleasing to find that there had been a good approach to addressing the recommendations made at the last inspection, and the linkage between this and the improvements we found was self-evident. Other establishments could learn from this.”
Commenting on the report, Steve Hewer, Serco Contract Director for the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, said:
“We very much welcome the Chief Inspector’s report and his recognition of the progress we have made since the last inspection.
“My team of staff at Yarl’s Wood have worked tirelessly over the past two years to continuously improve our performance at the centre, often in challenging circumstances. Our focus throughout has been on decency and respect in all aspects of our care, so it is particularly pleasing to see the Inspector’s praise for the positive relationships between our staff and residents.
“We are committed to further building on this progress as we continue to focus on providing a caring, safe and supportive environment for all our residents.”