New deal for asylum ‘did not go well’ in Blackburn and Darwen

New deal for asylum ‘did not go well’ in Blackburn and Darwen

New deal for asylum ‘did not go well’ in Blackburn and Darwen

First published in News

SERCO and the Home Office have defended themselves against allegations the contract transferring the accommodation of asylum seekers in Blackburn and Darwen to the company was ‘poorly managed’.

They have revealed there are 312 refugees housed in the borough, below the promised limit of 350.

The all-party Commons Public Accounts Committee said the first year of the new deal ‘did not go well’ and accommodation was ‘often unacceptably poor’.

In 2012 the Home Office replaced 22 contracts with six regional ones to save £140million over seven years.

One, worth £175million, went to SERCO taking over the job in Blackburn with Darwen from the council.

In 2012 Blackburn MP Jack Straw expressed concern the company could double the number of refugees in the borough to 700, placing ‘intolerable strains’ on the town.

A deal promising no increase was agreed in October that year.

A SERCO spokeswoman said: “We have worked extremely hard to raise standards since late 2012.

“Serco at all times concentrated on minimising disruption to service users.

“We should have done more to confirm properties met necessary standards. We have improved inspection and maintenance procedures.”

A Home Office spokesperson said it was ‘disappointed with the PAC’s findings’, but accepted ‘there are challenges with the contracts’.

Comments (3)

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2:18pm Wed 30 Apr 14

woolywords says...

What, have these poor people done, to deserve being sent to Blackburn? Haven't they suffered enough already?
What, have these poor people done, to deserve being sent to Blackburn? Haven't they suffered enough already? woolywords
  • Score: 7

2:34pm Wed 30 Apr 14

woolywords says...

Not to mention the fact that there is not enough 2 bed, low cost or social housing, to meet the needs of the people that live here, without paying millions, to a private company to find the non-existent!
Private landlords must be seeing this article and rubbing their hands with excited glee, thinking of the exorbitant rents that they can charge for their hovels.
After all, if SERCO is paying the rent, they have to be better payers than Clown Hall Benefits officers, who take up to 25 working days(?), to resolve the most straight forwards of cases.
(Yes, I've recently had the pleasure of their ineptitude. They disallowed a claim, as the amount stated on a SIX year old tenancy agreement, didn't match that which was being claimed now. The fact that prices have risen, didn't occur to them!)
Not to mention the fact that there is not enough 2 bed, low cost or social housing, to meet the needs of the people that live here, without paying millions, to a private company to find the non-existent! Private landlords must be seeing this article and rubbing their hands with excited glee, thinking of the exorbitant rents that they can charge for their hovels. After all, if SERCO is paying the rent, they have to be better payers than Clown Hall Benefits officers, who take up to 25 working days(?), to resolve the most straight forwards of cases. (Yes, I've recently had the pleasure of their ineptitude. They disallowed a claim, as the amount stated on a SIX year old tenancy agreement, didn't match that which was being claimed now. The fact that prices have risen, didn't occur to them!) woolywords
  • Score: 7

4:15pm Wed 30 Apr 14

ConcernedOssy says...

woolywords wrote:
What, have these poor people done, to deserve being sent to Blackburn? Haven't they suffered enough already?
Looks like another clowncil success story then !!!!!!!!!!!!
[quote][p][bold]woolywords[/bold] wrote: What, have these poor people done, to deserve being sent to Blackburn? Haven't they suffered enough already?[/p][/quote]Looks like another clowncil success story then !!!!!!!!!!!! ConcernedOssy
  • Score: 6

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