Home Office ignores own inspector

Sadly for anyone who has heard the increasingly right wing noises coming from the government and sadly watched the passing of the probably illegal migration bill, it will come as no surprise that the Home Office has been critisised for ignoring their independent inspector. It is worrying that a government that says it has integrity and respects the rule of law should ignore its own inspector – especially when the issue relates to immigration and the problems the UK faces.

Now for some more detail.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Neal, has expressed his frustration at the UK Home Office’s failure to promptly address report recommendations in his comments published alongside the annual report for 2021-22.

Neal highlights the Home Office’s disregard for the inspectorate and its findings, stating that the department has failed to lay inspection reports in Parliament within agreed timescales. He criticises the Home Office for its lack of action in the asylum system, poor record-keeping and use of data, and insufficient identification and safeguarding of vulnerable people. 

The annual report cites 69 recommendations, of which the Home Office accepted 39 and partially accepted 18, but without committing to specific steps or processes to implement them. 

The delay in implementing recommendations due to COVID-19 disruptions and the secondment of Home Office staff to the response to small boats is evident. 

Additionally, the lack of a published service standard for asylum decisions and the Home Office’s approach to engagement with local authorities on the placement of asylum accommodation sites still requires improvement. Neal considers the lack of progress by the Home Office on these issues disappointing and a missed opportunity for cooperation with the Inspectorate. 

The inspections aim to review the efficiency and effectiveness of the performance of functions relating to immigration, asylum, nationality and customs by the Secretary of State or any person acting on her behalf. 

However, without action on recommendations and alternatives sought by the Home Office, no progress will be made, and the frustration around these issues will continue to grow.

One one wonders what next for migrants – more illegal camps or aborted returns to unsafe countries.

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