§ Lord Dixon-Smith
asked Her Majesty's Government:
With regard to the search for property suitable to be used as reception centres for asylum seekers, 21WA whether they gave those responsible for briefing agents involved in the search specific instruction concerning consultation with local authorities and other interested parties; and [HL1230]
With regard to the search for property suitable to be used as reception centres for asylum seekers, whether they consider that any briefing given to agents was both sufficiently clear and understood; and [HL1231]
With regard to the search for property suitable to be used as reception centres for asylum seekers, whether agents seeking such properties were instructed to reveal to the present owners the purpose for which the property would be used if it were purchased. [HL1232]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin)
The National Asylum Support Service (NASS) began a procurement exercise in June last year to find sufficient accommodation to support the induction centre for asylum seekers making their claims in London and the South East. This exercise was conducted in line with standard procurement procedures. The methodology used to evaluate tenders included consultation with the local authority.
Letters sent to relevant chief executives made it clear that the information about the proposal to use a specific hotel was commercial in confidence and should not be disclosed to persons other than those nominated by the chief executive to provide information about the proposal.
I am satisfied that members of the procurement section in NASS were aware of the procedure to be followed. NASS staff did not contact current owners of the hotels under consideration. Their contract negotiations were not with the current owner but with a third party. NASS would not be aware of the content of discussions between this third party and the current owner and could not require that the third party notify the current owner of the purpose for which the property would be used.