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Chief Inspector highly critical of foreign national offender removal operations: “this is no way to run a government department”


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The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Neal, has published an inspection report on the Home Office’s handling of foreign national offender cases. It is a highly critical report and, as the government was no doubt aware, had it been published on any other day that that of the Rwanda judgment, would no doubt have generated considerable adverse media attention. The government controls the publication date for these reports.

To give you an idea:

My inspection found FNORC [Foreign National Offenders Returns Command] to be a large and complex operation which lacked the ability to track and monitor the progression of cases, from initial referral to decision outcome. Staff did not have a clear sense of priorities, and there was a disproportionate focus on managing cases, rather than making decisions and progressing the removal of FNOs…

…Moreover, there is insufficient information to effectively identify which FNOs could be removed from the country today. The Home Office does not have an overarching view of its caseworking system.
In order to establish the current state of a particular case, case owners have to manually interrogate individual case records. This is no way to run a government department.

This is the opportunity cost to all the high profile but failed policies at the Home Office: a really badly run department failing to do the basics. In the press release for the report, Neal refers to the Early Removal Scheme and says that

I found that little, if any, progress had been made in this area since the National Audit Office made similar findings in 2014.

The people running the Home Office just are not serious people.

You can read the full report for yourself here. The contents will come as no surprise to anyone doing work with Bail for Immigration Detainees; progress with removing foreign national offenders is the exception rather than the norm.

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Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.