Bishop of Durham asks about Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre

The Bishop of Durham received the following written answers on 23rd June 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Durham asked Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Ministry of Justice on 29 November 2021 (79500), how many surgeries have been held at Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre since contingency arrangements were put in place to provide access to the Detention Duty Advice Scheme.

Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con): The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) operates free legal advice surgeries in immigration removal centres (IRCs) in England under the Detained Duty Advice Scheme. Individuals who are detained are entitled to receive up to 30 minutes of advice regardless of financial eligibility or the merits of their case. There is no restriction on the number of surgeries an individual may attend. If an individual who is detained requires substantive advice on a matter which is in scope of legal aid, full legal advice can be provided if the statutory legal aid means and merits criteria are met.

Staff in immigration removal centres work closely with the LAA to manage demand for the Detained Duty Advice Scheme (DDAS). Following feedback, the weekly rotas for legal providers were instead made into daily rotas, thereby increasing choice for detained individuals, as well as the number of advice slots available allowing for flexibility around the time and days these sessions can be held. The surgeries are operated when detained individuals request to engage with a legal provider under the scheme. On an ad-hoc basis additional advice sessions are also arranged in line with demand. This approach has continued throughout the immigration removal estate and is in operation at Derwentside IRC.

In order to provide access to DDAS services for women held at Derwentside IRC, from 1 January 2022, existing legal providers at Yarl’s Wood IRC were invited to provide an additional 6 months of interim provision at Derwentside. There have been 44 Detained Duty Advice Surgeries available from 1 January 2022, to date, at Derwentside. Within these surgeries, 109 appointments have taken place by phone and 63 by video-conferencing platforms.


The Lord Bishop of Durham asked Her Majesty’s Government how the contract with Care and Custody to deliver the management of all detainees’ needs at the Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre is monitored.

Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con): Mitie Care and Custody is required to provide a safe and secure environment for detained individuals in their care at Derwentside immigration removal centre (IRC). There is a robust and comprehensive system of contract management and monitoring in place for the delivery of services. The contract is managed in line with Government best practice and the Cabinet Office commercial operating standards. This includes weekly and monthly operationally led meetings to review performance and formal Quarterly Contract Review Meetings to establish whether the services are being performed to the required standards. Mitie’s performance is measured against a set of defined key performance indicators.

Onsite Home Office compliance teams are responsible for ensuring that suppliers are fulfilling their contractual requirements. They monitor the services provided, the treatment of detained individuals, the condition of the establishment and ensure that the Home Office is receiving effective service and value for money.

Independent monitoring of our IRCs is vital to ensuring that each centre provides a secure and humane environment for detained individuals. Recommendations are made by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons in their regular reviews, and public reports, of IRCs. Accepted recommendations are incorporated into a publicly available service improvement plan. In addition, each centre has its own Independent Monitoring Board, tasked with ensuring proper standards of care and decency for those in detention. The Boards issue annual reports, and also make recommendations for improvements.


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