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Inspectors praise 'groundbreaking' family immigration detention centre

Government inspectors have today reported that a G4S-managed centre for families subject to immigration controls prior to their removal from the UK has "maintained the high standards for which it has become renowned"

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) said that Cedars pre-departure accommodation near Gatwick, which will soon close, has a safe environment and that partnership working between the agencies supporting families on site was “impressive”.

G4S is contracted to manage the centre by the Home Office and children’s charity Barnardo’s provides social work, welfare and family support services.  All three organisations maintain a presence at the facility.

Today’s report follows the announcement last month that Cedars is set to close and families will be looked after ahead of departure at a newly upgraded separate family unit within nearby G4S-managed Tinsley House.  Independent inspectors said last year that Tinsley House is one of the best performing immigration removal centres in the country.

Responding to today’s report, Managing Director for G4S Custodial and Detention Services (UK), Jerry Petherick, said:

“Today’s report recognises the committed and dedicated work of our team alongside partners from Barnardo’s and the Home Office and we can be rightly proud of the way we have worked together over the past five years for the benefit of those in our care.

“While the Shaw Review into the welfare of those held in immigration detention centres recognised that Cedars is an “exceptional facility” it has always been a centre of last resort, leading to it being underused.  We are working with the Home Office to provide pre-departure accommodation within the dedicated family unit at Tinsley House and I am pleased that many of our team at Cedars will transfer to that unit. 

“The days before removal can be very distressing and we are committed to working with the Home Office and welfare groups to continue to provide the highest standards of care for those we look after at the pre-departure accommodation unit and the other centres we manage.”