Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (604)

Niamh Smyth


604. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the protocols, procedures and application process involved in the provision of a centre (details supplied); the process for landlords wishing to rent property for same; the protocols they are subjected to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38162/20]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

Premises are sourced either through a full tender process which is administered through the Government’s Procurement Portal www.etenders.gov.ie or through responses to calls for expressions of interest, which are advertised in the national media. My Department is assisted with these tender projects by the Office of Government Procurement.

The tender process which commenced in late 2018, saw regional tender competitions being advertised, assessed and awarded. The competitions were held for the South East, Midlands, Mid-West, South-West, Mid-East, West, Dublin and the Border Regions.

All properties selected under the tender process must be able to meet the requirements of the National Standards for accommodation centres. Any tender for the provision of accommodation centre services must demonstrate that it will meet the requirements of the Standards. This requirement applies to the provision of new centres and to any renewal of a contract with a current provider.

The Standards were published in August 2019 and developed through an Advisory Group including representatives from UNHCR Ireland and the NGO sector. The Standards will come into force in January 2021 and address a range of themes including accommodation; food and catering; individual, community and family life; health and well-being; governance; and meeting the special reception needs of applicants. The Standards will ensure that all new accommodation coming on stream must be able to meet the requirements for independent living by the provision of self-catering facilities for residents including a food hall and the availability of separate family spaces outside of bedrooms.

The forthcoming White Paper of the future direction of the Direct Provision System will inform the type of accommodation that the Department will contract in the future