3 March 2015
Serco has appointed a former barrister to conduct an independent review of its work at the controversial Yarl's Wood immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire.
The appointment of Kate Lampard CBE, was made after a Channel 4 News report broadcast last night showed 'undercover footage' taken inside the centre of staff allegedly being abusive and threatening to detainees.
Yarl's Wood - one of the country's largest detention centres for women facing deportation - is managed by Serco on behalf of the Home Office.
A spokesman for Serco said: "We have not seen the footage, but have been told that this includes recordings of comments made by one or more of our staff."
A statement by the company reads: "Serco works hard to ensure that the highest standards are maintained at Yarl's Wood. We recognise that the public needs to be confident that Yarl's Wood is undertaking its difficult role with professionalism, care and humanity. This is why we have asked the highly respected former barrister, Kate Lampard CBE, to conduct an independent review of our work at Yarl's Wood."
James Thorburn, managing director of Serco's Home Affairs business, said: "We work hard to ensure that the highest standards of conduct are maintained at Yarl's Wood and Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons has found the centre to be a safe and respectful place."
Last year, the Home Office was criticised for re-awarding Serco a £70 million contract to run Yarl's Wood. Campaigners were unhappy because Yarl's Wood has been the target of a succession of damaging allegations since Serco began managing the facility in 2007.
Lampard recently carried out the report into the Jimmy Savile scandal at Stoke Mandeville hospital.