Tuesday, 15 December 2020
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Direct Provision System
389. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if advance local consultation now takes place in respect of proposed direct provision centres to be provided by private operators; if such local consultation takes place in respect of a possible centre at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42870/20]
I can confirm that my Department has no plans to open an International Protection Accommodation Centre in the premises referred to by the Deputy.
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. This requirement applies to the provision of new centres and to any renewal of a contract with a current provider. Once a premises is deemed suitable, negotiations will begin with the proposed service provider.
During the assessment and prior to the conclusion of the negotiations, the relevant Local Authority is consulted to see if there are any legal or compliance issues in relation to the property.
Following the conclusion of negotiations and the signing of the contract between the service provider and my Department, engagement begins with local representatives and other key stakeholders. This includes the other Government Departments and organisations that provide key services and supports to residents, like the Departments of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Education and Skills, Health, the HSE and Tusla.
While I can fully appreciate that community engagement as early as possible in the process is preferable, the Deputy will appreciate that this type of engagement is not possible prior to the commercially sensitive negotiations being concluded and the contract being signed with my Department as, until then, there is no guarantee that the negotiations will be successful or that a centre will actually open.