What is the AASC contract?
AASC stands for, Asylum Accommodation and Support Services Contracts.
The new contracts offer a range of improvements, with a particular focus on assisting individuals through the asylum system. They will ensure that vulnerable asylum seekers have access to the support they need and set clear requirements on the standard and condition of accommodation
The Home Office formally awarded contracts to the following providers:
Midlands and East of England: Serco
North East, Yorkshire and Humberside: Mears Group
North West: Serco
Northern Ireland: Mears Group
Scotland: Mears Group
South: Clearsprings Ready Homes
Wales: Clearsprings Ready Homes
Migrant Help have also been awarded the contract for the Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility Assistance services (AIRE), which will be a single integrated and national service for asylum seekers.
The AIRE service will provide advice and guidance to service users on the asylum process, their rights and signposting different services.
It will also provide asylum seekers with a single point of contact, independent from the accommodation providers and the Home Office, to report issues.
At Serco we have a team of people that are dedicated to managing relationships both internally and externally to ensure that we work in partnership with all stakeholders whilst remaining impartial.
Our stakeholders are anyone with an interest or concern in the work we do and we are here to manage Serco’s relationship with stakeholders by being a single point of contact on a local and strategic level. This is key with the new contract area of Midlands and the East of England as we will work to build strong relationships with all of our new and existing stakeholders.
Our main stakeholders are:
- Service users
- AIRE provider (Migrant Help)
- 3rd sector organisations
- Local Authority
Our approach to managing these stakeholders include:
- One to One meetings
- Consistent messaging
- Quick response times
- Dealing with complaints
- Local and regional relationships
- Media checks
- The Big Word
Partnership working also means working with our people so we will ask you for updates and then feedback any information that is relevant. We should also be informed of any meetings that you are asked to attend with external stakeholders to ensure consistent messaging.
We organise annual events including a Christmas party and Refugee week. As well as promoting and supporting Serco Group initiatives including World Environment Day and Zero Harm week.
We have a commitment to corporate responsibility and encourage all staff to use their 1 day of volunteer leave that they get each year either individually or as part of a team. It's a fun way to give back to communities, and you have the chance to meet new people. We also help to organise fundraising activities across the contract and actively ask staff to participate so we can raise money for our chosen charities.
Alongside this we work with stakeholders to find volunteer opportunities for our service users so they can integrate into the communities they live whilst learning new skills that will help them in the future.
A performance indicator for AASC is to conduct experience surveys with Service Users. This is so that we can gain feedback on the level of service they receive and make improvements where needed.
You can contact the Partnership Team via email [email protected]
Employee Partnership Forum in AASC
The Employee Partnership Forum (EPF) ensure that all staff are well informed about matters that directly relate to them and that they also have the opportunity to communicate their views in an open forum. This promotes an exchange of views from all on issues of mutual interest to everyone working for Serco.
There are EPF meetings each month which Employee Representatives (ER) from across the contract attend. These ER’s are volunteered staff and there is at least one person from each area of the contract to ensure every team has a voice. All ER’s are asked to contribute to the agenda so staff can raise points that interest them.
The ER’s commit to representing the views and concerns of their colleagues by raising matters at the EPF and then providing subsequent feedback.
Examples of matters that the EPF can address include
- Bonus and incentives
- Contractual issues such as “out of hours “
- General issues and concerns from overall departments
- Business improvements
If you would like to be an ER please contact [email protected]