Units

 

The individual units within the RIA structure are required to act together in a coherent fashion. Procurement needs to be aligned with operational demands and these, in turn, must operate within the financial boundaries given to us. Importantly, given that RIA is primarily engaged in the accommodation and care of people who have arrived in the State seeking protection, our actions must take account of their educational, health and child protection needs.

The following is a summary of the functions of each unit within RIA.

1) Accommodation Procurement Unit

One of the tasks of RIA under the Government's policies of direct provision and dispersal is to provide residential accommodation and ancillary services to asylum seekers in locations throughout the State while they await the outcome of their application for asylum in this country.

To meet accommodation requirements, RIA has entered into agreements with commercial contractors throughout the State to provide these services.  Most of our contracts are with companies which own and operate the centre concerned.  Some centres - currently seven in number - are owned by the State but RIA contracts commercial companies to manage and operate them. 

In all cases, detailed contracts are drawn up between RIA and the company to ensure that the accommodation centres comply and operate in accordance with all statutory requirements in relation to, for example, bedroom capacity, food, food hygiene, water supply, fire safety and general safety and so on.

RIA monitors all contract service delivery using a number of tools, including:

• RIA Inspections Unit visits (minimum of 2 per centre per year - always unannounced);
• Independent Inspections by an independent firm under contract to RIA (minimum of 1 per centre per year - always unannounced);
• Weekly in-house RIA examination of resident register returns, noting trends in attendance;
• RIA Information Clinics (minimum of 2 per year);
• On-site visits by RIA officers (these can be ad-hoc and informal or pre-arranged meetings);
• Bed-Audit Reviews.

All accommodation centres are, of course, open to inspection by other statutory bodies in relation to, say, fire safety or food hygiene.

Main Functions of the Unit

• Management of all RIA's procurement needs, including accommodation for asylum seekers.
• Preparation of all requests for tender (RFT) in line with current requirements.
• Finalisation and implementation of service contracts with successful contractors.
• Monitoring all current contracts.
• Manage and evaluate the operation of contracts for State-owned accommodation centres and monitor the on-going costs in these centres.

Other Functions of the Unit

• On-site assessment of suitability of offers of potential accommodation.
• Responsibility for allocations to and the operation of the external, independent inspectorate of accommodation centres
• Participation, where required, in inspections, bed audits and other service delivery monitoring tools.
• Monitoring contracts on an ongoing basis to ensure that current tax clearance, fire and insurance certification is in place and is up-to-date.
• Monitoring and reviewing the accommodation portfolio on an ongoing basis (in conjunction with the Operations Unit) to ensure it adequately addresses requirements.
• Arranging for contract issue or termination, where appropriate.
• Liaison with other reception providers in Europe through the ENARO network (European Network of Asylum Reception Organisations) and monitoring international trends and developments.

2) Operations Unit

The main function of the Operations Unit is the organisation of accommodation for asylum seekers in line with the Government policy of direct provision and dispersal. Asylum seekers are initially accommodated in a reception centre based in Dublin. Asylum seekers stay in Dublin for approximately ten to fourteen days. During this time they are given access to health, welfare and legal services following which they are relocated to an accommodation centre outside of Dublin.

Main Functions of the Unit

  • The organisation of accommodation for asylum seekers in accordance with the Government policy of direct provision and dispersal.
  • The management of bed spaces within accommodation centres.
  • Monitoring asylum seekers compliance with the reporting requirement and accommodation requirement under the International Protection Act, 2015 (as amended).

Other Functions of the Unit

  • Holding information and advice clinics in accommodation centres.
  • Dealing with requests from asylum seekers for a transfer to other accommodation centres.
  • Maintenance and updating of the RIA database.
  • Dealing with complaints from asylum seekers regarding their accommodation.  

3) Statistics & Accommodation Payments Unit

This unit is charged with compiling and recording statistical information relevant to the workings of RIA. This information is used to produce reports which provide ready access to information regarding the numbers of asylum seekers being dealt with by RIA. This enables RIA to measure the efficiency of the service it provides and also to make informed estimates regarding trends in the future.

The unit also has responsibility for the verification of accounts from state owned centres, the processing of payments for both commercial and state owned centres and the production of expenditure reports and material as required.  This enables RIA to maintain the  accuracy of payments made in respect of these centres and the accountability of the companies charged with the management of the state owned centres.

Functions

  • monitoring accounts submitted from state owned centres.
  • processing payments due to both state owned and commercial centres.
  • maintaining records and producing reports of expenditure and other material as requisitions
  • compilation of statistics from all sections of RIA and from relevant sections in other sections eg. International Protection Office (IPO), International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT).
  • production of a number of statistical reports on a weekly, monthly and annual basis.
  • responding to requests for statistics both from within and outside of RIA.
  • circulating statistical information within RIA and to any other relevant parties.
  • coordinate RIA's Internal Inspection Team.
  • update and maintain RIA website.

4) Health Services Unit

The Health Unit works closely with the Department of Health and Children, health agencies and non-governmental organisations in co-ordinating delivery of health and personal social services to asylum seekers resident in RIA accommodation throughout the country.

This Unit also works closely with the Operations Unit of RIA in relation to health aspects of the Direct Provision system.

5) Education Unit

Main Functions of Education Unit

  • To ensure that all children aged between 6 and 16 years living in RIA centres are enrolled in school.
  • To ensure that any school attendance issues are brought to the attention of the National Education Welfare Board NEWB and any other relevant State agencies as they arise
  • To link children, living in RIA centres, who require transport to and from school to the School Transport Scheme operated by Bus Eireann on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills
  • To provide general information to asylum seekers and Managers of accommodation centres on the Irish education system and to deal with specific requests as they arise.
  • To liaise with the other units in RIA on an ongoing basis so as to best provide for the needs of children residing in RIA centres. 
  • To facilitate Aged Out Minors (AOMs), who are transferring from the care of the HSE to RIA accommodation, to complete their second level education.

Other Functions

  • To liaise with school principals in relation to any issues arising from the enrolment of children from RIA centres.
  • To liaise with Vocational Education Committee VEC (where English Language Classes are provided to adults).
  • To deal with queries from other education providers, NGOs and others in relation to education issues for asylum seekers and their children.
  • To deal with queries from other State Bodies including the NEWB, the National Council for Special Education NCSE, the HSE etc. in relation to the education needs of children of asylum seekers.
  • To liaise with the relevant State agencies so as to link children with identified special needs to school.
  • To liaise with the Health Services Executive HSE regarding any identified second level education needs of unaccompanied minors who are being transferred by the HSE to the RIA when they age out (i.e. turn 18 years of age).  
  • To liaise with education providers in particular schools and the local Vocational Education Committee VEC (where English Language Classes are provided to adults) when an accommodation centre is opened/closed.
    To attend case conferences and meetings called to address the education needs of children of asylum seekers.

6) Child & Family Services Unit

The unit's main functions and responsibilities are:

6) Child & Family Services Unit

The unit's main functions and responsibilities are:

  • Monitoring and implementation of RIA's Child Protection Policy. This includes training of staff in accommodation centres, and arranging training in Children’s First Foundations and Designated Liaison Persons’ Training with TUSLA.
  • Monitoring referrals to Child Protection Social Work teams nationally from all accommodation centres where children are resident. Liaising with families, centre management and social work teams to support delivery of services by social work and other support agencies.
  • The Child and Family Unit manager is a professionally qualified social work team leader who works individually with families where necessary, and provides advice and guidance for centre management, staff and RIA staff if there are child protection or welfare concerns identified for children resident in an accommodation centre.
  • Setting up and implementing the Garda Vetting system for centre staff and, when necessary, other persons providing services to residents in accommodation centres.  Staff in the Child & Family Services unit are Garda Vetting Authorised Signatories.
  • Working in partnership with TUSLA’s Separated Children’s Team in relation to Separated Children Seeking Asylum who reach 18 years of age ("aged out unaccompanied minors) leaving TUSLA care and who require appropriate accommodation in RIA's Direct Provision centres based on assessed needs.
  • Setting up and chairing regional Interagency Meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to provide a forum where RIA staff, centre managers and staff, and relevant agencies working with residents in the accommodation centres seek to identify and resolve issues of common concern.
  • Developing, in partnership with TUSLA and other agencies, a Child Welfare Strategy for children living in accommodation centres.