Thursday, 2 December 2021
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Direct Provision System
121. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the number of meetings of the programme board overseeing the White Paper to End Direction Provision have taken place; the number of properties being examined by the Programme Board for the purposes of the new accommodation model; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59451/21]
I have established a Programme Board, which is chaired by my Department, to oversee the implementation of the new system of supports and accommodation that will be offered to international protection applicants, as was outlined in A White Paper to End Direct Provision and to Establish a New International Protection Support Service and which I published in February of this year.
This Programme Board, which is chaired by the Secretary General of my Department, has both Government and independent membership, including representatives with lived experience of international protection, NGOs, UNHCR, independent experts in housing and change management and relevant Government Departments. This Board had its first meeting in July 2021 and has had four meetings to date. Its next meeting is scheduled for 16 December 2021.
As the Programme Board is involved in the oversight of the implementation of the new system, it does not examine individual properties that could be used for the new model of accommodation. Instead, my Department reports to the Programme Board on the overall progress of the acquisition of properties. The Department is working closely with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the Housing Agency and the Local Authorities on developing the new model and on acquiring suitable accommodation. As this process is commercially sensitive, the Department does not specify the exact number or location of the properties that it islooking to acquire at any given time.