UK Government

Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency: Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency publishes report on asylum

Press Release   •   Feb 26, 2010 10:15 GMT

A report published today by the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency has identified that, based on current staffing levels and the complexity and volume of asylum cases, the UK Border Agency’s target of concluding 90 per cent of asylum cases within six months by December 2011 is unachievable.  He had significant concerns surrounding the Agency’s ability to maintain performance in the face of increasingly challenging targets.

The report “Asylum: Getting the Balance Right?” inspected the UK Border Agency’s effectiveness in meeting its published targets for concluding asylum applications and legacy cases whilst ensuring quality decision-making and the provision of information to applicants.

Independent Chief Inspector, John Vine CBE QPM found that the UK Border Agency had almost 30,000 cases under the New Asylum Model (NAM) that had not been concluded within the required six month period.  He has recommended the introduction of clear targets to resolve these outstanding cases.

The report also found that the UK Border Agency would need to conclude over 11,000 cases a month to achieve its target of clearing the legacy of old asylum cases by July 2011. At the time of inspection he found that only 4,500 cases were being cleared each month.

Mr Vine said: “I have found that the UK Border Agency has clear performance targets that rightly focus on concluding asylum cases and these have driven improvement.  However the UK Border Agency needs to strike the right balance between meeting performance targets and high quality decision making when dealing with some of the most vulnerable people in society. We should remember that, first and foremost, this is about people’s lives.”

To view the full report “Asylum: Getting the Balance Right?” click

Notes to Editors

1. The Independent Chief Inspector of the UKBA publishes inspection reports on his website at
2. The Office of the Independent Chief Inspector was created by the UK Borders Act 2007.
3. The appointment of John Vine CBE, QPM was announced in Parliament by the Home Secretary in April 2008. He took up his post in July 2008. 
4. The Chief Inspector is independent of the UKBA. The Inspectorate is required to report annually to the Secretary of State. The Inspectorate’s reports are laid before Parliament.
5. The purpose of inspection of the UKBA is to provide assurance to Ministers, Parliament and the public about the safe, proper and effective delivery of immigration and nationality services.
6. An asylum application is concluded when, following a decision to grant an applicant a form of leave to remain in the UK, the decision is served, or following a refusal, an applicant is removed from the UK.

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