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Immigration and Nationality Directorate: Independent Inspectorate

Volume 689: debated on Thursday 1 March 2007

My honourable friend the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality (Liam Byrne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Last July, the Home Secretary announced the biggest shake-up of the immigration system in its history. To drive through this programme of reform, the Home Secretary made it clear that the IND, which will become the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) on 1 April, required more transparency and stronger oversight and accountability arrangements.

Today there are a number of bodies that monitor, inspect or advise on specific parts of the immigration system. What is lacking is a clear and consistent overall view. There is also no external oversight of key areas such as enforcement.

In December 2006, we carried out a public consultation on proposals for an independent inspectorate that would deliver an effective inspection of IND. We are extremely grateful to everyone who contributed. The responses received revealed very wide support for the idea of an independent inspectorate and how it should be taken forward. This paper sets out the Government’s formal response to the consultation exercise.

We propose to create a single inspectorate that will focus on overall efficiency and effectiveness across IND’s and its partners’ operations, quality of decision-making, enforcement powers, access to information and treatment of individuals, including a sense of comparative performance in different regions of the country.

Effective assessment of these key themes will provide confidence to Parliament and the public and to those who use and receive services from IND. I very much hope that everyone who is concerned with the immigration and nationality system will continue to work with us as we seek to develop the improvements and assurance that this new, stronger and more effective inspection will bring.