Councils continue to work hard to support and deliver the many programmes for refugees and asylum seekers currently in operation. Councils want to work with central government to find sustainable solutions that minimise the pressures on local authorities, their communities and vulnerable individuals.
- The Home Office’s initial engagement process as part of the development of the Asylum Accommodation Support Transformation (AAST) Project was welcome. However, councils are concerned that some of the issues and complexities associated with the current asylum system will be replicated in the new contract arrangements which are due to be announced in November 2018. The current model of provision for asylum seekers does not provide the necessary funding for councils, and is likely to place further pressures on specific areas of the UK.
- The procurement exercise for the AAST Project provides an opportunity to reframe the relationship between local authorities and the Home Office in order to address these concerns. Genuine collaboration across national, senior and strategic level is required in order to identify and mitigate risks and pressures within communities. Partnership structures need to be established as a matter of urgency that will allow local authorities and regions to work with the Home Office and contractors to better manage the impacts of dispersal on local authorities, their partners, and on asylum seekers themselves.
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Asylum accommodation contracts, House of Commons, 10 October 2018