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Future Home Office procurement

  1. The contract under which G4S managed Brook House during the relevant period was, the Inquiry was told, “likely designed in 2004 or 2005”.1 Mr Riley told the Inquiry that the Cabinet Office rules for procurement were different at this time and that the ‘Sourcing Playbook’ to be followed in procurements of this type has now been revised.2 The Home Office stated that contracts are now awarded on the basis of value for money, which is defined as:

“securing the best mix of quality and effectiveness for the least outlay over the period of the contract – not minimising up-front costs. The Government recognises the risk of low cost bias, even if evaluation criteria are designed to balance quality and cost.”3

For new IRC contracts, the cost element comprises 35 per cent of the assessment weighting, with “quality”, “social” and “value” elements making up the other 65 per cent.4 This has replaced the 50:50 weighting applied at the time of the initial Brook House bids.5

  1. The tendering process for managing an IRC must ensure minimum welfare standards, as required by the Rules. The process for awarding contracts and any contract itself should include and properly reflect the overriding purpose set out in Rule 3 of the Rules: ie to provide “secure but humane accommodation”. Any ‘operational versus cost’ assessment must reflect this, whatever weighting is given to welfare. Standards must be maintained throughout the life of any contract for running an IRC, which can only be achieved by appropriate multi-layered monitoring. I am therefore recommending that contracts awarded by the Home Office for managing IRCs include, at their core, the welfare of those detained within them by expressly requiring compliance with the overriding purpose of Rule 3.
Recommendation 2: Contractual term requiring compliance with the overriding purpose of Rule 3 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001

The Home Office must ensure that each contract for the management of an immigration removal centre must expressly require compliance with the overriding purpose of Rule 3, which is to provide “the secure but humane accommodation of detained persons in a relaxed regime with as much freedom of movement and association as possible, consistent with maintaining a safe and secure environment, and to encourage and assist detained persons to make the most productive use of their time, whilst respecting in particular their dignity and the right to individual expression”.

The provisions and operation of each contract must be consistent with and uphold the requirements of the Detention Centre Rules 2001, the Adults at Risk in Immigration Detention policy and the safeguards contained in detention services orders (including those concerning the use of force).


  1. HOM0332051_005 para 25[]
  2. Philip Riley 4 April 2022 35/14-36/23[]
  3. HOM0332165 para 99[]
  4. Philip Riley 4 April 2022 35/14-20[]
  5. DL0000140_044[]