The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has published a report evaluating the Home Office’s approach to asylum intake and casework.
In his accompanying statement, the Chief Inspector writes:
“The Home Office devotes significant resources to managing asylum claims. Nonetheless, it continues to struggle to keep on top of the volumes of claims it receives. In 2016-17, despite the evident commitment and hard work of those involved, high staff turnover, prolonged staffing gaps and inexperience caused problems that were not easily or quickly fixed.
As a consequence, the number of claims awaiting an initial decision rose during the year, as did the proportion deemed ‘non-straightforward’ and therefore set outside the published service standard of 6 months for a decision. The inspection also found issues with decision quality. Given the life-changing nature of asylum decisions, the Home Office’s performance needs to improve.”
The report makes 7 recommendations to improve performance, which the Home Office has largely accepted. A key issue highlighted in the report is the categorisation of asylum claims as “non-straightforward,” which causes delays in decision-making and often keeps claimants completely in the dark. As The Guardian noted, “a significant number of [asylum] claims [examined] should never have been categorised as non-straightforward.”
Another finding from the report is that “more than a quarter of Home Office staff who take decisions on asylum cases quit over a six-month period,” according to The Guardian.