Press Release: Wednesday 27 January 2021

Press release: New Report Guides Way to Ending Direct Provision

The Irish Refugee Council today published a report, authored by the housing consultancy Campbell Tickell, on implementing alternatives to Direct Provision.

The report aims to answer five questions: What models of accommodation delivery can be used to meet the aim of ending Direct Provision and congregated settings? How do we transition to those models? Who should have responsibility for protection accommodation and who should commission and procure accommodation? What strategy should be used to wind down Direct Provision? What risks are associated with this wider policy challenge?

Download executive summary

Download full report

Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council stated: 

“The report aims to bridge the gap and build on the recommendations of the Advisory Group Report published in October 2021 and the Government White Paper due in February 2021. The report contains multiple recommendations and findings. Including: 

  • Eight different accommodation models could be used to replace Direct Provision.
  • There should be a long-term emphasis on Approved Housing Body accommodation, State built accommodation, community renewal and social enterprise style provision. The breakdown of accommodation should be:
    • Using a combination of large and small AHBs, through pilots, and through a combination of new build, existing developments, aiming to provide 25% of supply by 2024.
    • State built accommodation, including reception centres, aiming to provide 20% of supply by 2024.
    • There is significant power and potential in community and regeneration schemes (including vacant and unused accommodation) but specific policies and approaches are needed to realise these.
    • There needs to be increased emphasis on facilitating people’s independence and removing barriers to integration.
  • Responsibility should stay with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) in the short term. In the longer-term responsibility should move to Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) when certain indicators are met.
  • New modes of accommodation need to be brought on stream by mid-2021. Reflecting the need for urgent momentum, several accommodation pilots should be committed to build the momentum required over 2021.
  • A new Approved Housing Body (or pivoting an existing one) should be created to focus on protection accommodation. 
  • Creating a new programme management office to procure and develop new accommodation streams. This should have its own budget but be at arm’s length from government but report to it.
  • The focus in the short and medium-term focus should be on identifying streams of accommodation and bringing them online as soon as possible. Only when the streams are delivering accommodation should local authorities be involved, the report recommends a regional ‘Accommodation Committee’ model to build in other important actors on a regional and local level.
  • The Advisory Group 'whole system' and 'whole of government' recommendations are crucial, not least clearing the backlog of cases using the case processing recommendation. 
  • A proactive strategy to end Direct Provision including identifying the worst centres, closing emergency accommodation and not renewing contracts.
  • Covid-19 presents many current and future challenges to the way we live, how our communities’ function, our villages, towns and cities operate and our social and welfare policies must be implemented. It also however offers us the opportunity to be radical and do things differently, to re-imagine a new system for housing protection applicants and refugees. Moreover, it has highlighted the continued unsuitability of congregated settings and the fact that people cannot socially distance and self-isolate.”

Liz Zacharias, Senior Consultant with Campbell Tickell stated: 

“The present arrangements for housing and support do not work well, either for asylum seekers themselves or for those operating within the current Direct Provision system. We have been very pleased to work with the Irish Refugee Council on this important subject. We hope that the report and the approaches we have proposed will be considered seriously by government. We believe these have the potential to create a far better system of support for asylum seekers and refugees who are seeking to build a new life in Ireland, away from persecution, ill treatment, war and conflict.”

Full report is available here.

Executive Summary is available here


Notes for editors:

  • Campbell Tickell is a multi-disciplinary management consultancy focusing primarily on statutory and not-for-profit sectors. Established for over 20 years, Campbell Tickell have worked with more than 850 organisations throughout the UK, Ireland and beyond, with central and local government, housing associations, care providers, sports and leisure bodies, charities, and commercial organisations such as housebuilders and developers, contractors and legal firms.