Yarls Wood investigation
Last month Serco Plc published my and Ed Marsden’s report on our investigation into the culture and practices at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre. The centre, which Serco manages under a contract with the Home Office, had for some time been the subject of troubling media reports about the way staff treat and manage its residents.
In commissioning an in-depth investigation, Serco demonstrated its determination to get to the bottom of the issues that had been raised and which will have been of concern to those representing residents at Yarl’s Wood, the wider public and also to Serco’s customer, the Home Office.
Among the lessons that emerged from our investigation were the need constantly to review and update recruitment, training and appraisal arrangements to ensure that all staff are up to the mark and equipped to provide a sensitive, people focussed service; the importance of ensuring that staff are deployed in adequate numbers and on appropriate rotas to meet service needs; and the need for robust, well developed systems and processes to ensure that staff and service users raise matters of concern.
The value of an independent investigation and the findings from the Yarl’s Wood investigation offer lessons for all businesses that provide public services.