Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Supplementary note by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, Home Office


Your letter of 2 August invited a response to questions relating to points raised during the course of the Committee evidence session with port operators and carriers on 20 June.

  The enclosed document incorporates the IND response to those questions. It also includes a report of progress made following recommendations of the National Audit Office (HC 204 Entry Into The United Kingdom February 1995), which has been prepared for the purpose of this current inquiry, and responses to outstanding points raised during the evidence session of 13 June and recent visits to ports made by members of the Committee.

Stephen Boys Smith

18 September 2000

  This document is provided to the Home Affairs Committee as part of their inquiry into physical controls at ports of entry. It comprises three sections:

  Section One is an update on the 1995 National Audit Office report "Entry into the United Kingdom" and provides the current position on the recommendations made within that report.

  Section Two is a response to a list of questions which were sent by the committee in a letter dated 2 August 2000.

  Section Three contains other information requested from IND officials either at the oral evidence session on 13 June 2000 or during the course of the visits to Immigration ports and offices.


Update on the National Audit Office Report 1995

The National Audit Office report "Entry into the United Kingdom" was published on 22 February 1995 following a study of Immigration Controls at UK Ports of Entry. The report made 29 specific recommendations covering five main areas:

    —  the development of management information systems to compare performance and effectiveness between ports of entry;

    —  the reduction of passenger queuing times;

    —  the recovery of charges incurred under the Immigration Carriers Liability Act;

    —  the enhancement of the Immigration Service detention estate and better management of the system for allocating detention spaces;

    —  the need to maintain efforts to increase the number of immigration offenders detected.

  In 1996 the Immigration Service produced an update on those recommendations. A copy of that report is attached. The aim of this report is to build on the 1996 update to provide the current position in respect of the recommendations (some of which have been overtaken by organisational or legislative changes), for the purposes of the Home Affairs Committee Inquiry into physical controls at ports of entry.

  Since the original report a new section, Operational Planning and Support Services (OPSS) has been established (in 1997). OPSS oversees operational practices and procedures and is also involved in queue measurement, process improvement and information technology provision and support.

Recommendations from the 1995 report

  Four of the five areas referred to above were broken down into 29 specific recommendations. An update on these is below (interrelated recommendations are commented upon together). The last area (on the number of immigration offenders detected) is not linked directly to any of the other recommendations and so is considered separately.


  . . . the need to maintain efforts to increase the number of immigration offenders detected.


  There has been a steady rise in the number of immigration offenders detected by the Immigration Service over the period 1995 to 1999 (the last full year available). Some 18,450 offenders[10] were detected in 1995 rising to 25,235 in 1999.

  The Immigration Service introduced a number of new systems to bring about this increase. These included the setting up of a new enforcement office serving the main IND public office in Croydon and the surrounding area, the establishment of a dedicated absconder tracing team in the Metropolitan area and the deployment of body detection dogs at south coast ports.

  Problems arising from the setting up of the Integrated Casework Directorate led to a reduction in the number of deportation cases handled over the latter part of this period, but this was more than offset by the rise in the number of illegal entrants detected, particularly those of clandestine entrants.


  Our strategy aims increasingly to prevent and deter the arrival in the United Kingdom of clandestines. If successful, this will impact upon the number of detections made even though increased numbers of searches are planned.

  Additionally, a substantial increase in enforcement staff is planned over the next two years; these resources will be used for major increases in the removal of failed asylum seekers and to detect additional in-country offenders.

  The introduction of an electronic fingerprinting system including the use of portable fingerprint readers should contribute to the detection effort.


  The service should seek to identify the underlying factors that may explain the differences in the rate of refusals and voluntary returns between ports. (2.18)

  The service should monitor trends in this indicator over time and investigate the reasons for any significant variation. (2.18)

  The service should monitor passenger throughput regularly and investigate the reasons for any significant trends and differences in performance between ports. They might also consider whether there are elements of best practice at the more productive ports, which could be applied elsewhere. (3.14)

  The service should assess in more detail those factors, which may affect performance and, in light of these, monitor the relative positions of ports over time and investigate the reasons for any significant changes. The collection and analysis of management information could also be improved, for example by recording scheduled time more accurately and consistently between ports. (3.18)

  The service should take steps to enhance the value of such analysis, (ie the monitoring of trends and variations), by improving the accuracy and consistency of the management data collected. (2.19)

  Performance indicators should be presented in a time series, with greater use made of graphics to enable managers to focus more clearly on trends. (3.7)

  "Families" of ports should be established to enable comparisons to be made between ports of a similar scale and passenger mix. (3.7)

  The service should define some indicators more clearly to ensure that data are collected on a comparable basis at each port and consider including one or two additional indicators. (3.7)

  The service should consider the merits of including the weighted number of further examination cases per staff day to the performance indicator package. (4.9)


  The above recommendations are all linked to the Management Information System (MIS). MIS was introduced on 1 August 1995 and was a major step in improving the service's ability to monitor its performance as a whole, look for trends and to make comparisons between ports. The MIS has since developed to fulfil a number of NAO recommendations, for example:

    —  the introduction of revised performance indicators;

    —  the introduction of "family groups" to facilitate port on port comparisons;

    —  and, more recently, we have been able to refine the removed and proceeded data so that we could more effectively monitor our performance against our targets as outlined in the ISPD Directorate Plan 1999-2000.


  MIS has been adapted a number of times to better fit our changing needs but a wholesale review of the system is now underway. There are a number of reasons for this, not least of which is the fact that the IS is entering a period of structural change which will see ISED and ISPD working more closely together. It is also vital that we have a system in place which enables us to accurately capture all the data we need to measure our performance against targets set in the IS Business Plan.

  There are also other developments that will feed into this and which have prompted a review of MIS. They are:

    —  The Impact of IND Casework Programme on the IS will, of course, need to be monitored closely to measure the efficiencies.

    —  The incremental introduction of a more flexible approach on the arrivals control, as provided for by the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, will also need to be closely monitored.

  We are implementing a number of other improvements to our processes and procedures that will supplement and complement the revised MIS:

    —  The roll out of POISE to ports will provide for computer generated and electronically transmitted returns. This will be a great improvement on the current system that involves ports completing manual returns and faxing or posting them to ISHQ.

    —  Local business plans based on the centrally produced IS Business Plan have replaced individual port plans. The targets will then be linked to individual officers' targets via their Performance Appraisal and Development Review, so making sure that individuals are aware of how their work will influence national targets.

    —  There will be a Grade 7 (Assistant Director) manager in each district. Each district manager will have responsibility for all the IS functions (ports and enforcement) in that district and will be in a position to closely monitor the IS activities and performance in their area.

    —  We have introduced a rolling programme of guidance issued to ports, which informs them of best practice, thereby ensuring consistency of approach at ports nation-wide.

    —  A review of our method for measuring queuing times is also underway. Detailed work was carried out at Heathrow using CCTV to measure queuing times and a measuring methodology has been devised and approved by Dr David Worthington of Lancaster University. (Dr Worthington was recommended to the Immigration Service by the NAO because of his experience and knowledge in the area of queue measuring.) Implementation in this area has been slower than anticipated because of difficulties in resourcing the project.

    —  We are also examining how to link IS work more closely to the costs. We are looking carefully at our accounting structures and aim to calculate unit costs for each output, (eg a unit cost for refusals, removals, asylum applications etc) and to have this information available for each location. By linking our work to costs we will be in a position to provide improved information on our costs, identify trends and track efficiency gains by output and/or port.


  All ports should set targets for time taken to resolve the different types of further examination cases, allowing for local workloads and priorities. The information necessary to monitor performance against targets might be provided from the ports' current computerised casework system (PAS) at the major ports. (4.18)

  Variations in the throughput of further examination cases emphasise the need for a more detailed evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of the systems for handling these cases at individual ports. (4.9)


  A statistical retrieval is available from the Port Administration System that provides the following information:

    —  Cases landed after 5hrs;

    —  Cases granted Temporary Admission after 5hrs;

    —  Cases detained after 5hrs;

    —  Cases granted Temporary Admission after 5hrs (subsequently detained);

    —  Cases detained after 5hrs (subsequently granted Temporary Admission);

    —  Cases removed after 5hrs;

    —  Total Number of Cases (non-asylum) not cleared within 5hrs and a percentage figure.


  All ports have agreed targets for the time taken to deal with various stages of the asylum process and these are contained in our Business Plan. Non asylum cases are monitored at a local level so that resources can be most effectively deployed.


  The Service should consider the alternative methods of measurement suggested by the NAO, which should improve the accuracy and reliability of information on queuing times. (3.37)

  As more accurate information becomes available, the Service should assess the impact of initiatives to reduce queuing times, and the likely costs and benefits of introducing these methods at other ports. (3.39)


  Detailed work was carried out at Heathrow using CCTV to measure queuing times and a measuring methodology has been devised and approved by Dr David Worthington of Lancaster University.

  The new methodology uses percentages of time as the measure (rather than percentages of passengers, which could not be accurately measured). Work is on-going to identify a national queuing target of all passengers cleared within 30 minutes for x per cent of the operating time of the port (85-90 per cent the likely range) and all passengers cleared within 45 minutes (the International Civil Aviation Organisation target) everywhere for 100 per cent of the operating time. In parallel, work is going ahead in partnership with BAA to see if any further enhancements or refinements can be made to queue measuring techniques.

  The proposed methodology is most effectively carried out using CCTV but implementation in this area has been slower than anticipated. The methodology can be conducted manually and manual trials took place in April to test its effectiveness.


  The results are being evaluated with a view to early implementation in advance or parallel with CCTV development.


  The service should continue to press forward with their efforts to match available staff more closely to patterns of demand: work underway in developing a computer model at Heathrow and consideration of the recommendations of the review of shift-working practices should help to achieve this. (3.20-3.23)


  IMPACT (the computerised manpower planning system) had already been developed at the time of the last review. Installation at all Heathrow and Gatwick terminals was completed in 1997. ROSPLAN (the computerised duty list compilation package) has now also been successfully installed at Gatwick and Heathrow Terminals. Consideration was made as to whether Rosplan should be installed at Dover and Waterloo but it was calculated that the costs would outweigh the benefits.


  Shift patterns at ports are set (in agreement with unions) to ensure that they meet the operational demands of the port. The IS Business Plan (2000) includes an objective to re-examine working patterns to improve contact between line managers and their staff and to take account of the Working Time Directive.

  The transfer policy is also being re-examined and where necessary will be revised to ensure that staff deployment meets business needs and affords development opportunities for all staff.


  The Service should consider whether the revised approach to establishing staffing requirements used at Heathrow and Gatwick might also be used in assessing relief requirements. (3.10)


  The staffing formula in its current configuration does not easily lend itself to other airports and is wholly unsuitable for rail, sea and ferry port operations. It is specifically designed to calculate the number of immigration officers required to deal with arriving passengers at an airport as opposed to a ferry or rail port, with initial calculations being linked to details of maximum aircraft capacity and projected arrivals provided by airport operators. The formula does not cater for the high number of peaks and troughs in passenger flow encountered at smaller operations. The formula is however subject to regular review (most recently in March 2000) and a more fundamental re-examination is planned for later in the year. Other paragraphs supporting the above recommendation addressed how the seasonality of business at ports of entry was being covered. The overall policy is to establish staff allocations that will make all our units self-sufficient and to use temporary attachments for developmental reasons rather than to plug gaps.

  A pilot Assistant Immigration Officer (AIO) conversion course has recently been held and will allow AIOs who have attended the course to deputise as IOs and, at the discretion of local managers, operate on the main arrivals control when demands are pressing, so reducing the need for relief. The effectiveness of the training will be analysed and more courses may be run in future if the scheme proves successful.


  The focus in the future will be at District level with Managers able to move staff around within their District to better match resources to operational need. At Manchester Airport, for example, mobility of staff between terminals has been introduced to deal with peaks in passenger flows. Further rationalisation of shift patterns is in hand which may well lead to a single duty list across all three terminals.


  In view of the pressure on places the Service should consider whether there are ways in which the temporary admission arrangements might be strengthened. (5.11)


  The Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 broadened categories of detainee eligible for CIO bail. Revised guidance was issued and a training programme implemented in 1997 to heighten awareness among key managers of the scope for CIO bail.

  When temporary admission is considered inappropriate, release on CIO bail should always be considered as an alternative to detention. Each case should be considered on its own merits taking into account the person's family, social and economic background.


  Part III of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 provides for up to two automatic, or routine, bail hearings for those in immigration detention, and is expected to be introduced from October 2001. All detainees will be entitled to routine bail hearings apart from those held following a court recommendation for deportation. Full training and written guidance will be given to all directly involved within the IS. Provisions of Part III, including presumptions to liberty and nine exceptions to bail, will be extended to CIO bail and other applications under the 1971 Act.


  The Service should continue to pursue a pro-active debt recovery strategy with a view to reducing the amounts outstanding more rapidly. (2.37)


  This recommendation refers to the operation of the Immigration (Carriers Liability) Act 1987. There has been a progressive fall, year on year, in the amount of monies outstanding. In 1995 21 per cent of the cumulative debt was still outstanding. This had fallen to less than 6 per cent by 31 December 1999.


  Annex A details cumulative totals of charges incurred and outstanding by year.


  There will be a continuing need for carrier training sessions, as the number of passengers without proper documentation tends to fall after such sessions only to rise again a few months later. (2.38)

  The NAO report update of 1996 indicated that evaluation procedures had been put in place, and that these showed a 30 per cent reduction in inadequately documented passengers (IDAs) in the six months following training compared to the previous six months.

  The programme of training visits for carriers continues: 94 stations were visited in 1999, an increase of 10 on the previous year's figure of 84.

  In the first six months of 1999, using the above form of calculation, there was an overall reduction of approximately 10 per cent in IDA arrivals from locations where training had been carried out. The decrease in effectiveness from 30 per cent to 10 per cent can be attributed to a number of factors:

    —  many of the visits conducted in 1999 were for refresher training. The improvements following refresher training are less spectacular because airline staff are already applying the lessons learned from earlier training;

    —  the quality and quantity of forged documentation used by IDAs has increased markedly. Airline staff are not expected to detect high quality forgeries and the training is aimed at the "reasonably apparent forgery" standard set by the carriers' liability legislation;

    —  a number of new routes were introduced during the first six months of 1999 and training was provided in advance of those routes opening. These locations will therefore not produce a decrease in IDAs following training.


  Carriers' performance at locations where training has been carried out continues to be monitored and analysed. The types and numbers of charges incurred are scrutinised and refresher training aimed at particular weak points is recommended when required. Airline Liaison Officers based at 20 overseas locations also conduct regular update training sessions with airlines.


  The service should explore whether the process of obtaining additional information on passengers from within the Home Office and visa issuing offices could be speeded up. (4.18)


  Although delays in the Casework Programme have meant that the IS has not yet been able to establish the anticipated level of information exchange within the Home Office, the installation of POISE at ports will provide considerable benefits in this area.

  Trials of a new Data Warehouse IT system are planned to take place shortly at Heathrow, Croydon and Dover to help fill the information gap between operational staff and the rest of the Home Office. Should these prove to be successful, access to the information nationwide will be considered.

  We have also moved toward a much more integrated approach with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with the creation of the Joint Entry Clearance Unit (JECU). JECU will be staffed 50/50 by Home Office and Foreign Office staff and will have as one of its functions the monitoring and maintenance of the exchange of information between the two departments.


  We will need to monitor the trials of the Data Warehouse and review its use quickly for wider implementation if it proves effective.

  Now that JECU is established we will be monitoring the exchange of information between the Home Office and posts overseas.


  The Service should seek to improve the screening of HO files that are referred for enforcement action. (2.9)


  Responsibility for the screening of Home Office files referred to the Immigration Service for enforcement was transferred to the Integrated Casework Directorate (ICD) in November 1999. The ICD's Enforcement Liaison Unit (ELU) is tasked with screening such cases and prioritising them in accordance with the Directorate's objectives. The Unit also acts as a central point of contact between the Immigration Service and the ICD on enforcement cases.


  The existing role and functions of the Enforcement Liaison Unit, including its screening responsibility, are currently being reviewed with the aim of further refining the arrangements for the transfer and monitoring of enforcement cases moving between the ICD and the Immigration Service.

10   Includes deportation and illegal entry cases. Back

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