Select Committee on Home Affairs Fifth Report


604. In our report we have identified a number of structural and operational failures, ranging from the local to the systemic, in the Government's overall response to the challenges posed by the worldwide phenomenon of increased migration, both legal and illegal. In our view it is a failure of successive Governments that these flaws have been allowed to persist, and their continued existence has exacerbated the problems the Government now faces. But we have also identified measures which the Government should take to address these failures. If the Government adopts these suggestions and builds on some undoubted areas of good practice and innovations—and uses properly the skills and experience of dedicated staff throughout the existing immigration system—many of the problems may be overcome.

605. There is little doubt that the great majority of those who are in employed in the immigration system are working hard and diligently, often under trying circumstances. But the biggest single management challenge for the immigration authorities is to create clear lines of responsibility and accountability and to establish a culture at each level where staff are required to feel a responsibility for the overall performance of the system as well as for their own tasks. Without such a profound cultural change, individual measures are unlikely to produce the required results.

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Prepared 23 July 2006