Serco loses refugee housing contract in Glasgow

Asylum seekers

Company caused outrage attempting to evict asylum seekers 

9th January 2019 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

Serco has lost its Home Office contract to provide accommodation for refugees in Glasgow.

The company created controversy last year when it attempted to evict around 300 failed asylum seekers in the city.

Although it had announced plans to pause the removals, the ensuing public protests and widespread condemnation is thought to have led civil servants to review its contract with the public services company.

Graham O'Neill, policy officer at the Scottish Refugee Council, welcomed the news. He said: "It is time for a new approach and in Glasgow we welcome this new chapter in supporting people seeking refugee protection.

"Providing housing to people in need is an essential public service and the rights, needs and dignity of people seeking refugee protection must be at the heart of the work of the Mears Group as they take over from Serco."

He added: "We want to see the new housing provider working collaboratively with Glasgow City Council, sharing decision-making with the council and working transparently with local services and communities.

"With these assurances in place, we look forward to working alongside the Mears Group to make sure that anyone seeking refugee protection in Scotland is able to begin rebuilding their lives in safe, secure and appropriate accommodation."

Privately-owned Serco is a preferred bidder of government contracts across the UK, employing more than 31,700 people across 11 countries. It runs a number of contracts for the Home Office to provide accommodation for asylum seekers and refugees. 

Julia Rogers, managing director of Serco's immigration business, said: "We are obviously disappointed not to have won the competition in Scotland.

"Despite what some commentators have said, I know that our team in Glasgow has delivered a service that has seen the asylum seekers in our care treated with dignity and respect and provided with accommodation that not only meets all the required standards, but is some of the most heavily inspected in the country.

"Our employees who are residents and constituents of Glasgow, have always been totally professional in circumstances that were at times very challenging and I am proud of them all.

"Our job now is to complete the contract to the highest standard over the next nine months and hand over to the new provider in September."

10th January 2019 by Angus McKay

“The company created controversy last year when it attempted to evict around 300 failed asylum seekers in the city.” Serco was correct with their intention to evict those (asylum seekers) not given refugee status, ie, refused asylum seekers who had no legal or moral right to remain in the UK or remain in Serco accommodation reserved for asylum seekers.Policy officer Graham O'Neill said: "It is time for a new approach and in Glasgow we welcome this new chapter in supporting people seeking refugee protection.”” Those people had failed to gain refugee protection, they weren’t entitled to any support.The Scottish Refugee Council policy officer Graham O'Neill said: "With these assurances in place we look forward to working alongside the Mears Group to make sure that anyone seeking refugee protection in Scotland is able to begin rebuilding their lives in safe, secure and appropriate accommodation." The Scottish Refugee Council should work with the Home Office and Mears to make sure refused asylum seekers are removed from Glasgow and Scotland.