Asylum Matters launches two new resource guides to the AASC and AIRE contracts.

Asylum Matters has launched two new resources focusing on the Asylum Accommodation and Support Contract (AASC) and the Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) contract. The aim of these resources is to support frontline organisations to help people seeking asylum to understand their rights and hold the providers to account in accordance with the contractual frameworks.

As part of the guides there are two posters, which clearly set out the service standards in the contracts:

  • The first poster focuses on accommodation maintenance standards and the contractually required response and repair times for all defects reported to asylum accommodation providers.
  • The second poster sets out the requirements of the Advice, Information, Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) service and the role and services covered by AIRE and contractual requirements of the service provider.

The posters are accompanied by guides to the AASC and AIRE contracts, which set out the contractual frameworks and provide more detail around the expectations and obligations of the service providers.

You can find the guide to the AASC contract here and the guide to the AIRE contract here.

If you would like hard copies of the posters, do get in touch with your Asylum Matters Regional Campaigns Managers. Otherwise, you can find digital versions of the AASC poster here and the AIRE poster here, and the specs for printing here.

NACCOM will be working alongside Asylum Matters and others in the sector in the coming months to document issues with the current contracts, in order to work towards improvements. Any NACCOM members interested in sharing their experiences of accessing support via the AASC and AIRE contracts are asked to contact Jessie Seal, NACCOM’s Policy and Campaigns Coordinator.

Please also get in touch with Asylum Matters if you have any feedback on the above resources.

Update on issues with the AIRE service

In October, NACCOM, along with over 100 sector organisations, highlighted major issues with the delivery of the AIRE contract, which have resulted in drastically increased waiting times for asylum support applicants, meaning that NACCOM members are accommodating destitute people for longer whilst the support to which they are entitled is delayed.

Migrant Help have since issued further updates on the steps they are taking to address issues with the AIRE service. You can find a newsletter from 8 November here and a letter from their Chief Executive from 15 November here.

It is noted that the demand of services remains high and additional staff are being recruited, with “improvements this week with the average answer time reducing by more than half.” They are working closely with accommodation providers, whose proactive approach to regular visits and logging of issues helps to reduce the demand on the service. There has also been an increase in the use of webchat. Organisations are repeatedly urged to send emails only once, as it is suggested this increases the time it takes to process correspondence. Migrant Help have committed to further improve the service in November and to achieve service level standards in December.