Are you OK with cookies?

We use small files called ‘cookies’ on Some are essential to make the site work, some help us to understand how we can improve your experience, and some are set by third parties. You can choose to turn off the non-essential cookies. Which cookies are you happy for us to use?

The contract to run Brook House

  1. The initial contract to operate, manage and maintain Brook House was awarded to another company, which was acquired by G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Ltd (G4S) in May 2008. In addition to provisions requiring compliance with the Detention Centre Rules 2001, the Detention Services Operating Standards Manual and detention services orders, the contract included a lengthy list of high-level requirements set by the Home Office and specifications for how these requirements should be met.
  2. There were concerns about aspects of the bid (including the available activities and a “long lockdown period”).1 While the evaluation criteria, in theory, weighted the operational ‘quality’ of each bid and the cost equally, rather than using its budget to ensure that a suitable operational contract was in place, the primary motivation of the Home Office appeared to be cost- saving, with care and welfare sidelined. The Inquiry was told that there is now a “far bigger drive … for value for money and quality”.2
  3. The monthly fee paid by the Home Office to G4S was subject to performance-related deductions, based on 30 key performance indicators. Some gave rise to a set financial penalty if not met, and some incurred points, which had a value that varied over time. The penalty structure of the contract set by the Home Office emphasised security over care. Compliance with these measures was monitored by G4S; as one senior Home Office official described it, “we did rely on honesty and integrity from G4S”.3 The Home Office conceded that its contract “did not give the Home Office sufficient leverage” to hold G4S to account in delivering services in accordance with the contract or the requirements of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 and other guidelines.4 There were also insufficient Home Office staff to properly monitor the contract during the relevant period and it appeared to pay only superficial attention to welfare standards, which should have been the fundamental concern.
  4. The Home Office stated that improvements were made in the contract with Serco Group PLC (Serco), which took over the management of Brook House in May 2020, noting:

“Overall, the new contract has been designed to have a much greater focus on the safety and welfare of those detained.”5

Compliance continues to be monitored by a combination of self-auditing by Serco and oversight by the Home Office. It appears that there is still significant room for improvement. I am therefore recommending an active and robust approach to performance management by the Home Office, which retains ultimate responsibility for the welfare of detained people.

Recommendation 1: Robust monitoring of contract performance

The Home Office must actively and robustly monitor the performance of the Brook House contract, including satisfying itself that any self-reported information is accurate. This may include engagement with monitoring bodies and appropriate stakeholders. Penalties must be attached to inadequate self-reporting.
  1. The contract under which G4S managed Brook House during the relevant period was “likely designed in 2004 or 2005”.8 The Inquiry was told that Home Office contracts are now awarded on the basis of value for money, with 35 per cent of the assessment weighting attributed to cost, and the remaining 65 per cent made up of “quality”, “social” and “value” elements.
  2. In any event, the tendering process for awarding contracts to manage an immigration removal centre should include and properly reflect the overriding purpose set out in Rule 3 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001.
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. DL0000140_073[]
  2. Gordon Brockington 31 March 2022 76/12-16[]
  3. HOM0332165 para 106; Ian Castle 15 March 2022 21/5-12. See also HOM0332004_006-007 paras 14-17; HOM0332152 003-006 paras 12-25; Michelle Smith 23 March 2022 114/21-133/6, 143/13-21[]
  4. HOM0332005_011 para 31[]
  5. SER000226; HOM0332165 para 102. See also HOM0332005_009 para 26; HOM0332051_006-007 paras 28-29[]