Published on 26 February 2021

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall has welcomed the Government’s White Paper on ‘Ending Direct Provision’, which includes a commitment to phasing out the system over the next four years. However, he says that implementation of the White Paper’s commitments will be key and he will monitor progress and feature updates in his regular reports.

The Ombudsman said:

“My own outreach programme and my visits to centres have made me acutely aware of the stressful and inappropriate circumstances faced by residents of direct provision. I particularly welcome the decision to move to own-door accommodation for families and to end room-sharing for single people, practices I have consistently criticised in reports.”

The Ombudsman said that the commitment to integration is particularly important and the move from remote rural locations will be an important enabler of this.

The Ombudsman will also seek to ensure that while commitments are being implemented, the living conditions of people remaining in current Direct Provision centres are not overlooked. The White Paper addresses many of the issues raised in complaints to the Ombudsman’s Office including the ability to obtain driving licences.

The Ombudsman welcomed the continued engagement on addressing the current difficulties protection applicants face in opening back accounts. He said that these are practical issues that can help people live a relatively normal life while waiting on their asylum application to be processed.

In March the Ombudsman will be publishing a commentary on the issues raised in complaints to his Office in 2020.