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Private security firm Secro has admitted they struggled to provide housing for asylum seekers, calling the fall-out from a major change in Government contracts "challenging".
James Thorburn, managing director of Serco's home affairs business explained:
The Government is trying to claim back a total of £3-4 million paid to two private security firms contracted to provide housing for asylum seekers, a watchdog has revealed.
National Audit Office (NAO) investigators had flagged concerns over the Serco and G4S ability to meet obligations after the Government announced an inquiry into contracts with the private security firms, a report published by the NAO said.
They found G4S and Serco had failed to meet contractual standards in some areas, such as property conditions, and the Government was now attempting to recover rebates worth £3 million and £4 million due to poor performance.
Two of the three private security firms chosen to head provide accommodation for around 23,000 asylum seekers "struggled" throughout a major project to make the process more efficient.
The National Audit Office report found:
- G4S and Serco caused continued uncertainty for asylum seekers because they "struggled" to find and move them into suitable housing.
- They took on housing stock without properly inspecting it and subsequently found that many of the properties were not up to the demands of the contracts.
- Both of the firms failed to meet other contractual demands, such as sticking to a timetable for finding asylum seekers suitable housing and on other property conditions.
Some asylum seekers are "occupying" publicly-funded housing when "it was clear" they had the means to support themselves, a watchdog has found.
An investigation into housing given to asylum seekers by the National Audit Office said:
Some asylum seekers are living in publicly-funded housing when they could afford more, a Parliament watchdog has found.
An investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO) found some asylum seekers had "indicators of wealth" when they had claimed to be "destitute".
This was taking away housing from other refugees who were genuinely without a penny to their name, the NAO said.
As of April last year, the Home Office provided accommodation for around 23,000 asylum seekers with around 60% receiving financial support from the department.