***FOR IMMEDIATE DISSEMINATION***
Thursday 10th March 2011
The children's charity Barnardo's is legitimising the continued use of detention for children by agreeing to provide welfare services at a "pre-departure accommodation" centre the government plans to open in Pease Pottage near Crawley in Sussex.
The Home Office and UK Border Agency claim that this facility will be 'open non-detention accommodation'  and, as such, they are seeking to persuade the Mid Sussex District Planning Committee that their Change of Use planning application is a sui generis use , falling outside of other current planning guideline Classes.
However, careful consideration of the limited publicly available information  on how the facility will operate shows that it will in fact closely resemble current Immigration Removal Centres and Short Term Holding Facilities in many facets:
· children and families will be arrested and administratively detained under the provisions of the 1971 Immigration Act when being move to and from this 'Pre-Departure Accommodation'; [3a]
· they will be subject to the Control and Restraint techniques used across the detention estate; and [3a]
· the detained children will only be allowed out of the facility under strictly controlled circumstances. [3b]
Clearly this amounts to the continued use of "the detention of children for immigration purposes".
According to the BBC  which has seen an advanced copy of a speech from Barnado's chief executive Anne Marie Carrie, the charity will seek to justify its participation in this controversial project. Ian Bros of No Borders Brighton, who is formally objecting to the planning application, states Barnado's: "may seek to rationalise its proposed work at the facility as helping to hold the Home Office to its commitment to run a more humane removal system, but it cannot escape from the fact that this is a detention centre in all but name. In fact Anne Marie Carrie has given the lie to the government's position that this is not a detention centre by calling it 'secure pre-departure accommodation' in her proposed speech. This is clearly a Class C2A [Secure Residential Accommodation] use, just as all Immigration Removal Centres are classed and as such the Mid Sussex Council should reject this planning application as incorrectly filed."
Ian concludes: "It is bad enough that the Home Office are trying to rush this whole project through the planning process, ignoring EU competitive tendering process, and restricting public access to the planning application itself under catch-all security considerations, but to rope a respected charity in as its PR-patsy must really win some prize in the annals of government spin."
For comment contact Ian on: 07807503282
Notes to Editors:
 See CgMs Consulting letter to Pease Pottage residents on behalf of the Home Office: http://tinyurl.com/crawleyforest
 See the planning application: http://pa.midsussex.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?act...
[a] the current UK Border Agency's Enforcement Instructions and Guidance Chapter 45 Family Cases: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/enf...
[b] and the Planning Statement: http://188.8.131.52/pap_msdclive/framepage.asp?dc2=&appnumber=11/00330...