Feeds

Bonuses all round for failing Border Agency

More holes than your Nan's knickers

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The UK Border Agency is paying out £295,000 in bonuses to senior staff despite its ongoing struggle with a backlog of thousands of mystery cases.

The Home Affairs Committee's latest report into the UKBA found that although it has worked through about half of its 450,000 backlog, it still does not expect to finish until summer 2011.

The Committee is even more suspicious that out of 220,000 cases concluded by the end of September 2009, 14 per cent were deported and 34 per cent were granted leave to remain in the UK. This leaves 52 per cent where files were closed with an "other" outcome.

The MPs asked the Agency for more information on what "other" conclusions there could be for the majority of cases. They were told 4,000 cases were duplicates, 88,500 were errors and 8,500 related to EU nationals.

Which leaves over 100,000 cases where the Border Agency does not know what has happened.

The Committee heard that 100,500 cases are in the legacy cohort - the Agency does not know where these people are. So they are put in an archive and after six months the case is considered closed. But names in the archive are checked against various watchlists every three months and can be reactivated should a match appear.

The Committee's report said: "We are very concerned by the high proportion of 'errors' amongst the cases concluded so far. We understand the difficulty in keeping track of people who may have made multiple applications, sometimes in different names, particularly in the years before the biometric information of applicants was recorded and at times when the numbers of people seeking asylum were at record highs.

"It is most regrettable, however, that the registration of cases became so chaotic."

The MPs said they were astonished that the UKBA recently found a batch of 40,000 files which mostly date back to before 2003 - some date back as far as 1983. The Agency hopes to clear this bunch of files by summer 2011, but told the MPs that it was likely many cases had been resolved in some way or another, it just wasn't sure how. So these people could have left the country, made another application, have died or be working for the Attorney General Baroness Scotland.

The Report noted that a previous Home Secretary described the UKBA as "not fit for purpose" and that it still had a long way to go before it could be described as efficient and effective. Given this situation it questioned the wisdom of handing over £295,000 in bonuses to 29 staff. Immigration minister Phil Woolas defended the payments to what he described as brave staff.

The UK Border Agency has suffered more embarrassment with its recent embrace of dodgy use of DNA testing of African asylum seekers to "prove" nationality. Various scientific advisers have pointed out the fallacy of such a system - one suggested checking the colour of applicants' shoes would be more accurate.

The madcap scheme was temporarily suspended in October, then reintroduced a week later.

The Home Affairs Committee Report is here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.