Families are prepared for their release, transfer or removal. Families are able to retain or recover their property. Families with children and others with specific needs are not detained without items essential to their welfare.

28. Families’ welfare needs are systematically assessed and addressed while they are in detention.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met. They do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • There is an accessible welfare service to address needs. Welfare staff are appropriately selected and trained, and their work with families is properly documented and evaluated.
  • Detainees are able to obtain support with immediate pressing welfare matters caused by their detention from an appropriate person in private, within 24 hours of their arrival.
  • Support needs, and in particular those relating to release or removal, are systematically assessed on arrival and dealt with through ongoing casework documented in a regularly reviewed welfare plan.
  • Welfare casework includes support with practical matters inside detention and help with external problems caused by ongoing detention, or which are difficult to resolve because of detention.
  • Welfare casework ensures that families that are removed are able to settle their affairs in the UK, that their bank accounts are closed and they do not leave behind any property or money.
  • Welfare casework ensures that families who are released in the UK have good quality advice and support with housing, finance and other practical matters.
  • Detainees are helped to contact their consular officials and are given appropriate advice about re-entry bans.
  • External voluntary and community sector organisations are proactively engaged by the centre to enhance support for families, and children in particular.

29. Families who are to be removed or released are treated sensitively, humanely and safely.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met. They do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • There is a multidisciplinary review of detainees who are considered to be vulnerable to harm. Care plans are put in place or amended as appropriate and, where necessary, describe arrangements to ensure continuity of medical care for detainees being released.
  • Sealed copies of health treatment documentation accompany detainees when they leave the centre. This includes summary medical notes.
  • Allegations of assault on detainees during removal attempts, which are supported by medical evidence, are thoroughly investigated with a view to prosecution, and removals delayed for this purpose.
  • Families being removed have clothing suitable for the climate to which they are going, and can carry their belongings in a suitable bag.
  • Families about to leave the centre are able to have visits at short notice.
  • Families being released are provided with adequate funds to reach final destinations and maintain themselves in the period immediately following their arrival.
  • Immediate housing, financial and other support needs are addressed before families are released.
  • Detainees are able to inform legal advisers, family and friends of when they are to be released, transferred or removed from the centre, subject to any legitimate security issues.
  • The Home Office maintains a well-researched toolkit about returning to common destination countries.
  • The toolkit is sufficient to inform Home Office and centre staff of arrangements, including financial support, that need to be put in place to enable the family to travel safely to their final destination and to access appropriate local support.

Human rights standards

Leaving the centre
In relation to expectations 28 and 29 above: Human rights standards emphasise that consideration must be given from the beginning of a period of detention to the detainee’s future after release, including the detainee’s need for assistance on release. Detainees must be provided with adequate clothing and sufficient means to reach their destination and to maintain themselves in the period immediately following their release. See SMR 108; EPR 33.7, 33.8. See additionally in relation to women, BR 46–47, and in relation to children, HR 80.

In addition, standards require removal orders to be issued in accordance with law and detainees to be informed in advance of their removal. See TGFR 2, 4, 15. Standards also cover conditions of transport and return of property, see SMR 73; EPR 31, 32, 33.4, and in relation to children, HR 26, 35. Detainees must be treated with respect for their dignity and human rights at all times. See SMR 1; EPR 1 and in relation to children, HR 12.

See also standards relating to safeguarding vulnerable adults (in relation to expectations 7–10) and children (in relation to expectations 11 and 12).