Failure of communication from Border Agency and Home Office

Published on Thursday, 19 January 2012 09:07
Posted by Scott Buckler

Following the announcement that UK border controls had been relaxed without proper authorisation during the summer of 2011, the Home Affairs committee held a number of evidence sessions to establish the facts of the case and determine what had led to such a situation occurring

The committee concluded that:


  • Lack of communication between the different arms of the UK Border Agency, and the Home Office of which it is part, has once again been responsible for a situation damaging to their reputation.
  • Whilst the situation may or may not have been caused by the actions of an individual, a lack of supervision of senior staff at the UK Border Agency allowed the situation to continue.
  • The risk-based trial, although not yet fully evaluated, appears to have been a success. The committee commends the effort to make a more targeted use of staff in this period of staff reductions.
  • The Home Office Warnings Index Guidance 2007 may be being used inappropriately.  The committee suggest that there ought to be a review of its use and clarifying guidelines should be issued to staff if necessary.

The committee also says that it believes that the Home Office should make available to the committee certain documents which have been given to the internal inquiries instigated by the Home Office.

Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the committee said:

"Border checks carried out at airports and ports in the UK are the final line of defence against those who should be prevented entry.

The apparent low levels of supervision at the UK Border Agency are highly troubling. The overuse of the HOWI guidelines and the fact that no one appears to have been aware of what was happening demonstrates a lack of oversight and a failure of communication.

Parliamentary scrutiny is a vital part of UK democracy and the refusal of the Home Office to provide us with several key documents has prevented us from reaching an informed conclusion as to the sequence of events. It is also inconsistent with the Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability.

It is time for a root and branch reform of the way in which the Home Office and the UKBA interact. Only by doing this will we ensure this Agency is finally fit for purpose."

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