Since the commencement of the new Serco contract to operate Yarl’s Wood there have been nine official complaints made to Serco by detainees. Three have been related to healthcare, two concerned the food, and four regarding single issues; the issue of shampoo and washing tablets, the escort process, the reception process and one complaint against staff, which was related to a detainee feeling unsupported by staff.
The contract that exists between the Home Office and Serco outlines the requirement for a full, varied and active regime for the detainees held at Yarl’s Wood IRC. Detainees are required to be in their rooms for the 23:15 roll count, but are free to move around their accommodation units after this time. Detainees are allowed to be in possession of mobile phones and there are no plans to restrict their use. There is no restriction to satellite news; there was a fault with the system early in May but this has been resolved.
[holding answer 18 May 2007]: There have been unfounded rumours that the quality of care provided to detainees at Yarl’s Wood will be reduced in the wake of the operating contract transfer from GSL to Serco. The new contract director Victoria Jones spoke to the detainees in Yarl’s Wood on two occasions on 4 and 5 May, and has also written to the detainees about their concerns. The centre has remained mainly calm. Complaints and concerns are addressed as they arise.