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D.11 Inspection and monitoring


  1. Primary responsibility for the welfare of people detained at Brook House during the relevant period (1 April 2017 to 31 August 2017) and for compliance with rules and procedures lay with the Home Office and G4S.
  2. Scrutiny is provided by HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP), which undertakes in-depth, periodic inspections of places of detention including immigration removal centres (IRCs).1Brook House was inspected in 2016 and 2019, but not during the relevant period. Volunteer boards (ie Independent Monitoring Boards or IMBs) undertake independent monitoring, reporting on the conditions in detention and the treatment of those detained.2 HMIP and IMB, along with other organisations, form part of the UK National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), which was set up under the United Nations (UN) Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) to prevent inhuman treatment in places of detention.3 The NPM’s duties and powers derive from ministerial statements to Parliament; it does not have any legislative footing. Formalisation of the NPM’s position was recommended by the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) during a visit to the UK in September 2019.4
  3. Neither the Independent Monitoring Board at Brook House (Brook House IMB) nor HMIP identified the abuses shown on the Panorama programme. It is unsurprising that they did not see overt abuse or inappropriate conduct. Nomonitoring body is likely to directly witness events such as those captured in the covert footage considered by this Inquiry. For this reason, it is important that the IMB and HMIP consider, and report on, more insidious signs of ill treatment. It is also critical that the Home Office and its contractors understand that external inspection and oversight are intended only to supplement, not to replace, their own internal processes.


  1. Prison Act 1952, section 5A[]
  2. The Prison Act 1952 and the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 require every prison and IRC to be monitored by an independent board appointed by the Secretary of State from members of the community in which the establishment or IRC is situated[]
  3. A total of 21 statutory bodies are members of the NPM. See Optional Protocol to the Conventionagainst Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment(OPCAT), United Nations, which was ratified by the UK on 10 December 2003; see NPM0000001; NPM0000002[]
  4. Visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandUndertaken from 9 to 18 September 2019:Recommendations andObservationsAddressed to the StateParty, Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 31 May 2021, CAT/OP/GBR/ROSP/1[]