Gatwick PDA 2019 annual report published

Children’s distress means family removals process should be reviewed, say independent monitors


The Independent Monitoring Board for the pre-departure accommodation (PDA) – made up of a team of volunteers appointed by ministers to ensure detainees are treated humanely – today publishes its annual report for 2019.

The report describes much good work that is done to care for and support those families who are held in the centre. It also raises some concerns and makes recommendations for improvement.

  • The Board’s greatest concern is for the impact that the family removals process has upon children and families. During 2019 only 13.3% (two out of fifteen) of the families who were accommodated at the PDA were removed from the UK.
  • The Board considers that the system as it stands badly affects the children’s sense of safety and security. While the accommodation is comfortable and play areas for younger children are well equipped, and despite the best efforts of staff, the process unavoidably adversely affects children.
  • Given that only two families were removed from the UK during the year the Board questions the cost and time spent on this process when compared with the distress caused and calls on the Minister to commission a full review of its effectiveness.
  • The Board also repeats a request to the Minister to consider establishing an independent system of monitoring the arrest and transfer of families to the PDA.