I can inform the Deputy that the specifications detailed in my Department's regional procurement processes, done through the eTenders online system, require that all bids must provide for independent living, i.e. that all residents are able to cook meals of their own choosing as well as providing designated living room space for families.
Any bidder that is successful in being placed on a framework and is drawn down from that framework has 16 weeks to carry out all necessary infrastructural works to deliver the independent living model as detailed in their tender submission.
I expect that the continued rollout of the independent living model will deliver significant improvements in living conditions and standards for residents, in particular families and children. I also recently published agreed National Standards for accommodation centres. The Standards will apply to all service providers contracted by the Department to operate and manage accommodation and reception centres. They provide a framework for the continued development of supports and services for residents by improving the quality of care and ensuring consistency across the centres. A copy of the Standards can be found on the Department's website www.justice.ie.