From the Ombudsman’s report into complaints made to him about Direct Provision
Ombudsman Peter Tyndall published a report on the complaints his office has received from people living in Direct Provision.
In total, the office received 148 complaints in 2018.
As of January 1, 2019, there were 6,592 people living in direct provision.
In relation to the lack of self-cooking facilities in direct provision centres, Mr Tyndall said these facilities will be rolled out this year.
But he can’t say when.
In my previous commentary I said that residents’ feedback to my staff was that their ability, or inability, to cook their own meals was the single most important issue for them.
Based on the feedback from residents to my staff in 2018, this largely remains the case.
My staff heard strong expressions of frustration from residents at some centres where self-cooking facilities are not in place or where the facilities are in the process of being provided but where there have been, and continue to be, delays in the provision process.
On the other hand, there are a number of centres which superficially appear to have very limited self-cooking facilities (eight hobs in one centre).
However, both management and residents at that centre told my staff that there was enough self-cooking to satisfy residents’ needs and there were never any problems with residents accessing the facilities that were there whenever they wanted to.
My office has engaged with RIA on this point which has confirmed that the Department has started a procurement programme for Direct Provision accommodation which will be rolled out on a regional basis by the end of 2019.
As part of the specifications for the competitions, tenderers will be asked to provide cooking facilities for residents.
Successful tenderers will have up to 16 weeks to provide those facilities from when they are notified that they have been successful.
RIA states that it is not possible at this stage to provide a timetable for when individual centres will have the cooking facilities rolled out.
This is because of the roll-out of multiple regional competitions and also because some providers may be able to deliver the required services in less than the full 16 weeks.
My staff will continue to engage with RIA on this programme over the course of 2019 and will see for themselves what progress is being made
when they visit the relevant centres during the year.
Read the report in full here