This has been an interesting year for Cedars Pre-Departure Accommodation, Gatwick, following the publication of Stephen Shaw’s report which recommended its closure or alternative use. The Independent Monitoring Board for Cedars PDA today published its annual report for 2015. The Board is made up of a team of volunteers who visit regularly. Their report describes much good work that is done to care for and support those who are resident in the centre. It also raises some concerns and makes recommendations for improvement.
This is the IMB’s third report of Cedars and our overall findings are positive. The concerns and recommendations outlined in the report are not all specific to Cedars, but rather to wider immigration policies and procedures to which it is subject.
Inside Cedars families are generally cared for and supported very well. However, they often find the steps taken to arrest and transport them very stressful and children can arrive frightened and upset. We are concerned that a suitably trained and qualified pediatric mental health nurse is not available when needed. The report recommends that, wherever possible, families with young children should not be arrested or transferred in the early hours of the morning or at night. We also think that families’ complaints about their arrest and transfer should be dealt with as quickly as possible so that lessons can be learned where necessary.