UK Government

Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency (National): Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency publishes report on Command and Control Unit

Press Release   •   Nov 18, 2010 11:27 GMT

A report published today by the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency has found that there is now a pressing need for a fundamental review of the UK Border Agency's Command and Control Unit's (CCU) core role and purpose to ensure that it has the capability to deal effectively with the command and control of a major incident.

The CCU was established in 2006 and is an important national link between the UK Border Agency and a growing number of other agencies, most notably the police service.

As part of a wider inspection into the UK Border Agency's operations in the North West of England region, the Independent Chief Inspector, John Vine CBE QPM found that the overall purpose of the CCU was unclear. The CCU was unable to accurately measure the demand placed on it and there was limited data analysis in terms of the identification of trends, forecasts and priorities.

While Mr Vine was pleased to find that each critical incident was evaluated, no use was made of this information for the wider benefit of the UK Border Agency. He noted that the CCU had good relations with their stakeholders and that there was good collaborative working with the police.

Mr Vine said, "In the face of increasing demand for CCU's services from its stakeholders, it is particularly important that the UK Border Agency should develop formal arrangements to manage both the sharing of information with others and ensure its own data quality. This should be underpinned with straightforward but rigorous performance standards."

The Independent Chief Inspector's full report "Command and Control Unit" can be viewed

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Notes to Editors:

1. The Office of the Independent Chief Inspector was created by the UK Borders Act 2007. 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. 

2. The Chief Inspector is independent of the UK Border Agency and is required to report annually to the Secretary of State. 

3. The purpose of inspection of the UK Border Agency is to provide assurance to Ministers, Parliament and the public about the safe, proper and effective delivery of the functions of the UK Border Agency. 

4. On 5 February 2004, 21 Chinese cockle pickers were drowned by the incoming tide in Morecambe Bay. At that time there was no established process for the then Immigration and Nationality Directorate to contact appropriate staff to deal with such a situation, particularly out of office hours. The CCU was set up in 2006 to provide a single point of contact.

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