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Immigration: Border and Immigration Agency

Volume 694: debated on Thursday 26 July 2007

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration and Minister for the West Midlands (Liam Byrne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I wish to inform the House that I am publishing today a consultation document on the implementation of measures in the Police and Justice Act 2006 extending the Independent Police Complaints Commission's jurisdiction to cover the Border and Immigration Agency's enforcement functions. Copies of this consultation document have been placed in the House Library.

We have embarked upon an ambitious programme of reform of the Border and Immigration Agency to improve the effectiveness of our immigration controls. Change in three key areas will make a substantial difference to the organisation's performance. Establishing the Border and Immigration Agency as an executive agency will provide greater autonomy to deliver effective immigration controls within a policy framework agreed by Ministers. The new regional structure more responsive to local communities will keep the public in touch with how the agency is performing in their particular region. The introduction of tougher, independent oversight and accountability to Parliament and the public will ensure we build confidence in the new system moving forward. All are of equal importance in helping us secure the objectives of the immigration enforcement strategy published in March.

The IPCC will support these reforms by providing independent oversight of the most serious incidents and complaints and an assurance that agency staff will be held accountable to an independent organisation. This oversight will be in line with that which the IPCC provides for the police and other law enforcement bodies. While the new chief inspector created by the UK Borders Bill will monitor the effectiveness of the agency as a whole, the IPCC will provide expert, independent oversight on the actions of enforcement staff in individual cases. The consultation paper sets out the proposed content of the regulations detailing the exact remit of the IPCC and invites comments which will inform the final version.

The consultation period ends on 17 October 2007. We will then report on the results of the consultation and our proposed course of action.