Select Committee on Public Accounts Minutes of Evidence

Updated statistics relating to foreign national prisoners



  We were asked for the 1,023 figure broken down by month of release date. The table below shows the available information on the release date of the month of the 1,023 foreign national prisoners not considered for deportation.

Before 20011
Before 200317
January 200411
February 20047
March 200410
April 200410
May 200411
June 200411
July 200415
August 200417
September 200421
October 200420
November 200418
December 200428
January 200531
February 200528
March 200531
April 200533
May 200551
June 200552
July 200541
August 200545
September 200561
October 200549
November 200534
December 200549
January 200640
February 200630
March 200625
Not available123

Clarification of apparent discrepancy between 19 "most serious" offences quoted in letter to Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts on 25 April 2006 (Ev 33) and 13 "most serious" offences quoted in a letter from the Home Secretary to the Speaker of the House of Commons, 28 April 2006

The information by the Home Office is different from the information previously provided to the PAC in the letter from the former Home Secretary of 25 April 2006 (Ev 21-23). This is because the immediate priority was to provide an update on the available information.

Later work investigating the situation uses data from a wider number of sources, reflecting a far more intensive investigation of each case. This has resulted in improved data which has caused, and will continue to cause, changes to the information originally provided.

Question 16 (Mr Edward Leigh): Information regarding meetings between ministers and top officials in the Department drawing together the Prison Service and the Immigration Service and Question 156 (Mr Alan Williams): Protocols

We said that we would clarify what communication had taken place with prison governors and the Immigration Service. The Prison Service Order (PSO) 4630, which sets out the procedures and actions relating to immigration matters was issued on 20 September 2004 and has not since been revised.

In addition, a protocol signed in December 2004, sought to improve the process of consideration for removal from prison custody to the immigration detention estate those foreign nationals held under immigration legislation.

A further message to Governors and Directors of contracted prisons reminding them of requirements to notify IND was carried out in April 2005 in one of a series of bulletins on foreign national prisoners.

Following the PAC hearing of 26 April 2006, we also reissued PSO 4630, which included revised contact details on 27 April 2006.

From October 2004 there were also regular montly meetings at official level between the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) and HM Prison Service (HMPS) on issues involving foreign national prisoners. At ministerial level, the increase pressure on the prison population in Autun 2005 led to closer examination of the "segments" making up that population. The growing proportion of foreign nationals was highlighted and, in addition to the meetings at official level, the Home Secretary met with ministers and officials from both immigration and prisons to discuss measures to be taken. The first of these took place on 17 October 2005 on the need for closer working between IND and HMPS on a range of issues involving foreign national prisoners.

Question 39 (Kitty Ussher): Current performance against the target for the timely removal of criminal cases

The performance target for removal of Foreign National Prisoners is 85% within 28 days of the end of the individual's criminal sentence.

Recent monthly performance is as follows:

December 200567.4%
January 200670.5%
February 200650.9%
March 200662.8%
April 200665.4%

The Home Office accepts that performance is low compared to our targets and, as described at the hearing, we have increased, and are further increasing, resources devoted to this area.

*Original breakdown of figures sent to the Committee **Original breakdown of figures categorised into most/more/other ***Original figures
validated by further work
categorised into most/
more/other (10/05/06)




Order of priority
ABH/GBH54Most Murder3 4Highest
Arson4 Manslaughter2 2
Assisting/facilitating illegal entry16 Rape9 14
Burglary41 Child sex offences519 1535
Conspiracy6More Sex offences (other)7 8Higher
Customs (other)6 Kidnapping4 8
Deception66 Violence (other)/violent crime57 6846
Driving Offences5Other ABH/GBH54 61
Drugs—importation20 Indecent assault27 21144
Drugs—supply62 Robbery93 73
Drugs—possession95 Drugs—importation20
Drugs—other27 Drugs—supply62 (204)184
False imprisonment3 Drugs—possession95
False instrument85 Drugs—other27
Fraud33 Burglary41 40
Immigration (other)12 Arson4 2
Indecent assault27 False imprisonment3 1
Kidnapping4 Driving offences5 30
Manslaughter2 Assisting/facilitating illegal entry16 8
Murder3 Fraud33 16
Rape9 Deception66 63
Robbery93 Conspiracy6 28
Sex offences (minors)5 Theft and kindred52 57
Sex offences (other)7 False instrument85 71
Theft and kindred52 Customs (other)6 11
Violence (other)57 Immigration (other)12 16
Other126 Other126 86
Not available103 Not concluded103 158
Total1,023 Total1,023 1,0231,023 1,023
*  Original breakdown of the 1,023 foreign nationals released from prison without consideration of deportation, broken down into offence (alphabetical order)

**  Further work to prioritise consideration of the 1,023 foreign nationals categorised the offences into "most serious", "more serious" and others. Table shows the original breakdown sent to Edward Leigh split into these categories, and a total number for those in each category
***  As work continues to compile information on the 1,023 individuals, we are to provide updated breakdowns. Table shows new breakdown split into most/more/other categories, and updated total for each category.

  The Home Office is not at this stage able to provide the Committee with information on the prisons from which the 1,023 foreign nationals were released, the length of sentence for the 1,023 foreign nationals, or how long they have served. This information is contained in individual case files but was not entered electronically in every case in a central system. This means that it would be a very big manual job to produce this information and it would be of doubtful reliability.

Question 62 (Mr Richard Bacon): Home Office estimates on Foreign National Prisoners prior to 1999

  There was no IND system to capture information on foreign nationals released from prison pre-1999 when a system of records was established. Comprehensive statistical information on prison discharges is not collated centrally. However, the number of those entering prison establishments under sentence each year can provide some indication of the number of sentenced prisoners discharged in a year. Information on foreign nationals entering prison establishments under sentence is available from 1993 onwards and this figure was 21,102 in England and Wales (1993-98 inclusive). The breakdown of each year is as follows:

19931994 199519961997 1998
2,2182,7463,405 3,6714,1674,895
Figures provided by Research, Development and Statistics, NOMS.

The table below shows the number of deportations broken down into year. However, it must be noted that prior to October 2000, these figures will also include people we now deal with as administrative removal, including those removed for overstaying or working in breach of conditions. The figures below include thoese categories as well as the deportation of Foreign National Prisoners and those with a family connection.

19931994 199519961997 1998
2,2801,9201,920 2,0002,0701,730
Figures provided by Research, Development and Statistics, IND.

Question 135 (Annette Brooke): Forecast of numbers IND and HMPS anticipate dealing with over the next year

  The prison population projections produced by the Research, Development and Statistic branch of the National Offender Management Service (RDS NOMS) have not provided separate estimates for foreign nationals and there are currently no forecasts of flows of foreign national prisoners through the system. The growth in the foreign national prisoner population has been accompanied by changes in the profiles of nationalities, reflecting to some extent changes in the nature of make up of the general UK population, for example, the influx of visitors and migrant from EU Accession countries since May 2004.

There are currently no long term forecasted intake figures for foreign national prisoners, although work on this is being taken forward as a priority. Until that work is completed we are working on the basis of 600 new cases per month (based on April 2006 intake). Work is underway to assess the resources needed, based on this workload.

Question 149 (Mr Alan Williams): Breakdown of 1,023 by the prison that they were released from

The Committee also requested the 1,023 figure broken down by the prison from which they were released. However, whilst this information is contained in individuals' case files, it was not entered electronically in every case into a central system. The fact that a prison is not recorded on the central system does not affect whether an individual will have been considered for deportion.

Question 172 (Mr Edward Leigh): Resolution of problems with cash management

1.  This note sets out the background to the cash management problems and the progress that has now been achieved in reconciling the cash. In summary:

    —  The Paymaster General (PGO) account is reconciled for 2004-05 and 2005-06. Reconciliations will be carried out on a monthly basis for 2006-07.

    —  In April 2006 the NAO confirmed that they were satisfied with the bank reconciliation of the PGO account for 2004-05.

    —  In May 2006 the Natwest Bank accounts for 2004-05 have been reconciled and the reconciliations are being reviewed by the NAO. Reconciliations for 2005-06 have been completed up to 28 February 2006 (the reconciliation as at 31 March 2006 will be completed shortly).

    —  The reconciliation of the PGO and Natwest Bank accounts have not disclosed any evidence of fraud.

    2.   The initial technical problem—Paymaster General Account (May 2004)

    2.1  Shortly after the new accounting system went live the Home Office encountered a failure in its BACS payment facilities which prevented it from being able to make BACS payments from the Paymaster General account. Normally the Home Office would make daily payment runs but during the first three weeks of operation was only able to complete four payment runs. This had a severe impact on the payment processes of the Home Office and created difficulties with suppliers who were demanding immediate payment. This created a number of problems for the Home Office as BACS payments, which had been started in the accounting system but not completed, had to be cancelled (voided) on the system and alternative manual payments made. Payments totalling some £380 million were successfully voided using this process. However, for some £67 million of payments the voiding process did not work properly. The transactions were effectively only partly cancelled and this resulted in an error report of 300 pages and approximately 12,000 transactions. The problem was logged with Fujitsu Services in the early part of June 2004. At this time the problem was thought to relate only to the accounts payable module. The implications for the cash management module were not qualified or understood at this stage.

    3.   Resolution of the technical problem by Fujitsu Services—June 2004 to May 2005

    3.1  Fujitsu Services referred this issue to Oracle during June 2004 for resolution. As a result of escalation of the problem by Fujitsu Services, Oracle delivered a technical solution in January 2005. The solution was applied to a test environment by Fujitsu Services and thoroughly tested before being finally applied to the live Adelphi environment in May 2005. The overall effect of this solution was to create an accounting entry which adjusted the bank account and creditor balances by £67 million (This is the background to the £67 million referred to in Table 1, lines 5 and 9 in paragraph 17).

    4.   Cash management reconciliation difficulties—Paymaster General Account May 2004 to December 2004

    4.1  Cash management went live during May 2004 and early efforts to reconcile the cash management system were hampered by the business and consequent accounting issues generated by the BACS problems. It also became clear that the team operating the cash management module, who had been involved in the design, build and implementation of the module, did not fully implement the daily, weekly and month end processes. Because errors were made and processes not followed the bank reconciliation did not successfully reconcile bank balances in the general ledger to the bank statement balance.

    4.2  Early reconciliations produced for June and July 2004 highlighted that there were differences that were not resolved. It was at this time that the cash management team recognised that the accounts payable problem, which had been logged with Sirius, was a contributing factor. The presumption of the team was that, once Oracle had delivered a solution, the bank reconciliation would then balance. Cash management staff did not flag up to senior management that they were experiencing problems and there was no evidence of bank reconciliations being reviewed by management chain outside of the cash management team.

    5.   Review by Internal Audit—December 2004 to February 2005

    5.1  Between December 2004 and early February 2005, the Home Office Audit and Assurance Unit (AAU) undertook a review of the financial accounting controls. On the 14 February 2005, they told the Head of the Accounting and Financial Unit and the Director of Performance and Finance Directorate that there were serious issues on the bank reconciliation. AAU confirmed that there was no effective scrutiny of the bank reconciliation and that the first time the reconciliation was reviewed by senior management was in February 2005. An independent Oracle experienced consultant was immediately brought in to help with the reconciliation and an action plan was put in place. A follow up review by AAU was undertaken during April 2005. The progress reported to the April Audit Committee was that the bank reconciliation position had improved but had not been fully reconciled, as a software solution was required.

    6.   Action undertaken by the Home Office to reconcile cash management—February 2005 to December 2005

    6.1  With assistance from the Oracle experienced contractor, the team were able to make progress on the cash management reconciliation. By June 2005 they knew that the solution provided by Fujitsu explained £67 million of the reconciliation difference but they were unable to resolve a remaining unreconciled difference of £3.035 million. Attempts to investigate this were hampered by the fact that reports available from the system at the time could not be run retrospectively. One million transactions had been processed through the account hence a manual reconciliation approach was not possible.

    6.2  Faced with this problem, the judgement of the cash management team was that there were compensating differences in debtor and various other creditor accounts. Writing off these compensating unreconciled balances in these accounts to the Operating Cost Statement would make the closing balances as at 31 March 2005 correct. These entries were reflected in the accounts presented to the NAO on 9 September for audit.

    6.3  Following on from their audit work, the NAO escalated their view that the accounts were inadequate to the Director of Performance and Finance during October 2005. They indicated that they were concerned that the unreconiled difference of £3.035 million could mask substantial errors and potential losses. The Home Office discussed with Fujitsu Services whether a systems based reconciliation was possible and following a scoping exercise, work commenced in the first week of November. By the 14 December the bank account was reconciled to within £3,500 and working papers were provided to the NAO for them to review.

    7.   Conclusion from reconciliation work on Paymaster General Account

    7.1  Our work on reconciling the Paymaster General Bank Account has confirmed the following points:

    —  there was no evidence of fraud or loss; and

    —  there were no substantial errors in the resource accounts which needed correction as a result of completing the reconciliation—this work did not contribute to the changes in account balances between the accounts submitted on 9 September 2005 and those laid before Parliament on 31 January 2006.

    7.2  Following further work by the NAO since the end of January 2006 they have confirmed that they are content with the reconciliation for 31 March 2005. They also confirmed through their review that the £3,500 difference did not mask larger offsetting differences.

    7.3  Although the NAO refer to £946 million of gross adjustments in paragraph 17, this produced a net adjustment between bank and creditors of £67 million. This was reflected in the accounts submitted in September 2005. A number of adjustments actually had no overall effect on the accounts (eg £760 million reflected entries to eliminate from the cash accounts matching payments and receipts resulting from the £380 million failed BACs transactions in May 2004). Similarly the gross value of corrections needed to reflect the accounting entries associated with the application of the solution provided by Fujitsu totalled £180 million to produce the net adjustment between bank and creditors of £67 million.

      Background information: Home Office banking arrangements

    There are two main types of bank accounts used to finance Home Office operations. These are an account with the Paymaster General and a facility with the National Westminster Bank.

      Paymaster General Bank Account

    The Home Office has an account with the Paymaster General through which:

    —  all exchequer funding is channelled;

    —  all major payments are made; and

    —  any receipts generated by the Home Office are processed (both Appropriations in Aid and Consolidated Fund Extra Receipts).

    Paragraphs 16 to 18 and Tables 1 and 2 refer to this account.

    The Paymaster General Bank Account was reconciled by the Home Office and audited by the NAO as at 31 March 2004. No problems were noted by the NAO and issued an unqualified Audit Opinion on the resource accounts for 2003-04.

      National Westminster Bank Accounts

    The Home Office has a facility with National Westminster Bank to provide a local banking facility to Home Office functions which need to bank receipts (eg receipts associated with asylum processes such as Leave to Remain fees) or provide a local petty cash facility to remote offices. There are two umbrella accounts which during the course of 2004-05 had up to 47 sub accounts which operate overnight sweeping arrangements and an automatic transfer to combined balances over £40,000 into the main Home Office Paymaster General Account. The NAO report refers to this in paragraph 19.

    In 2004-05 there was no process or review process in place to ensure that reconciliation of the Natwest accounts were completed on a monthly basis.

    Home Office sponsored agencies and NDPBs have their own bank accounts which are outside of these arrangements and were not affected by the Home Office problems.


    In May 2004 the Home Office went live with its Oracle financial system (Adelphi), which comprised of a General Ledger (which records transaction information and is used to report financial performance in the Home Office), and the following modules:

    —  accounts payable;

    —  accounts receivable; and

    —  cash management (the module which reconciles cash transactions in the Home Office books to bank statements produced by Paymaster General).

    The cash management team, who had participated in the design, build and implementation of the cash management module, were trained in its day to day operation and were responsible for the operation and were responsible for the operation and reconciliation of the module from May 2004. During 2004-05 the bank account in the General Ledge would have processed around one million transactions.

      Question 172 (Mr Edward Leigh): Use of Adelphi to keep track of programmes and project implementation


    This note describes the Home Office Adelphi system, including the accounting facilities it provides, and describes how this can contribute to better programme and project management, as requested by Public Accounts Committee on 26 April 2006 (Question 172).

    The Adelphi system is a major step forward in supporting the management of finance, human resources (HR) and procurement in the Home Office. There have been some transitional problems in introducing the new system, but overall Adelphi provides a sound business solution that is already delivering real benefit. Project and programme management are not the primary purpose of the system, but Adelphi can nevertheless make a useful contribution to these areas, as described in this note.

      Business rationale

    The Adelphi system provides an integrated business solution for administration of finance, HR and procurement in the non-Agency Home Office, including central policy directorates and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate.

    The business rationale for Adelphi arose from the need to replace outdated legacy systems for finance and human resources (HR); and to introduce a central system to support procurement. The most effective way to do this was considered to be a class of business solution known as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The Oracle eBusiness suite was selected as best meeting Home Office business requirements.

    The projected benefits of the proposed solution include productivity improvements through automation, sharing (rather than replicating) data and better management information and control over the resources used by the Home Office.

    Total costs are estimated as £79 million and total benefits are estimated as £118 million. Of the total benefits, 76% (£91 million) are considered to be cashable.

      Development and rollout

    The Adelphi system was developed for the Home Office by the Sirius consortium including Fujitsu Services (lead contractor) and IBM Consulting (business advice services), under the IT 2000 PFI contract which also includes general provision of Home Office IT and telecoms. The proposal was subject to robust commercial negotiation, including a benchmarking study by the Gartner Group. The resulting programme was subject to an OGC Gateway 3 review (investment decision) before agreement was signed in May 2003, envisaging that the solution would be delivered to the Home Office ready for use from 1 April 2004.

    An OGC Gateway 4 (readiness for service) review was held in February 2004, towards the end of the design, build and test phase of the project. The rollout of the system was phased, avoiding a `big bang' implementation, in accordance with best practice and OGC recommendations. Core finance modules except for fixed assets (see below) were fully implemented in May 2004; core HR modules were fully rolled out by the end of September 2004; and a rolling programme to implement procurement was completed in March 2005. An automated interface from Adelphi HR to the Home Office payroll system (ePayfact) entered full operational service in April 2006. All the original intended functionality has now been rolled out except for HR self service; an interface from payroll to Adelphi General Ledger reporting monthly pay spend; and fixed assets (see section on finance modules, below). Work is continuing on each of these items.

    The Oracle system requires a very disciplined approach to data quality and adherence to specified business processes. It also requires an integrated approach between finance, HR and procurement. Taken together all of this represented a substantial challenge for the Home Office, as it does for many or most organisations introducing an ERP solution. However the potential benefits of a fully integrated resource management system, and modern industry standard processes and IT, more than justified the business change required.

    Agreement was reached at an early stage of the project that in keeping with best practice, the Oracle solution would be used without major technical customisation (a so called "vanilla" implementation). In other words, where the design revealed any conflict between the two, Home Office business processes would be adapted to fit the Oracle solution rather than vice versa. This reduces technical risk and has considerable lifetime benefits in reducing the cost and complexity of implementing future upgrades to the core Oracle eBusiness suite—although it may increase the extent of business change required by the organisation.

      Finance modules

    Four finance modules (accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger and cash management) have been live since May 2004. The Adelphi fixed asset module is not yet live (and has not been paid for) because it could not calculate the modified historic cost accounting adjustments required for resource accounts. Oracle has recently provided a proposed solution for this problem which is being tested. A decision has yet to be taken on when this will be rolled out. Fixed asset calculations were therefore undertaken outside of the Adelphi System in 2004-05 and 2005-06.

    Adelphi has already delivered a substantial advance on previous financial reporting and now provides budget managers with a single source for standard budget reporting, early in each month, providing transparency at each level. Budget managers therefore have significantly better information presented to them to enable timely action to take place in response to trends and exceptions.


    The Adelphi procurement system provides substantially improved controls to ensure that expenditure on the purchase of goods and services from third party suppliers is properly authorised and that an invoice is properly linked to an authorised purchase order (and to receipt, where 3-way matching is required). It also provides Home Office-wide reporting on procurement activity and will increasingly allow better management of the Department's commercial activities with suppliers. Suppliers are now provided with a single point of contact with the Home Office in relation to payment of invoices, and have been advised that invoices will not be accepted without a reference to a matching purchase order ("No Order, No Payment"). This enforces the disciplined, industry-standard approach.

    Widespread introduction of the Government Procurement Card (GPC) has at the same time enabled small payments to be handled efficiently, but still to be brought into the Home Office accounting system and integrated into management information reporting.

    Adelphi delivers better management controls eg over access to data and transactions; authorisation; and accountability. In the light of internal audit and NAO observations, steps have been taken to improve and to establish further audit controls and transaction history, and to monitor access by Sirius technical support.

    Within the overall Home Office performance on prompt payment, the record of the central Home Office has been unsatisfactory. The changes made by the Adelphi programme to centralised invoice processing, the GPC and standard purchase orders will improve the situation. This improvement began in 2005-06 and has continued following the introduction of "No Order, No Payment". In April 2006, 86% of invoices in the central Home Office were paid on time.

    Benefit realisation

    The Adelphi Programme has developed a detailed approach to benefits management which has been maintained throughout the delivery and operation of the system. An OGC Gateway 5 (benefit evaluation) review was held in early 2006 and confirmed that Adelphi had delivered overall benefits largely in line with the expectations set in the Business Case. There is no doubt however that the early stages of implementation of Adelphi created considerable strains in the business which contributed to the serious problems on the Home Office accounts.

    Adelphi will also be an important enabler as a working platform for the Single Transactional Shared Service (STSS) programme under way in the Home Office.

    Lessons learned

    Several approaches adopted by the programme reflect good practice. These include: "hands on" conference room pilots to support the design and work on an early prototype of the intended solution, engaging business practitioners closely in that activity; integration between finance, HR and procurement; the "vanilla" approach to deploying the Oracle solution, avoiding customisation of the product; and significant investment in training, change management and business process design, recognising that this was a holistic business change programme, not just a technical system design.

      A number of lessons have been learned about aspects of the programme which could have been handled better. Probably the most important lesson is that the scale of business change in implementing such a major new business system was still underestimated by the organisation as a whole, leading to slow take up of the full potential—and to some mistakes. In particular the problems in producing the 2004-05 accounts included not fully understanding how to reconcile the balances taken on from the BASS legacy system; not fully appreciating the implications of losing a key member of staff; and not fully undertaking the off-system controls of reconciling bank and suspense accounts.

    As all of this has become better understood it has enabled improvements in processes and data quality to be made with a view to achieving the full potential of the system.

    Programme and project management

    The Home Office undertakes a variety of major programmes and projects to deliver a range of improvements and essential changes. Adelphi itself is of course one example.

    The Home Office is giving a strong focus to improving programme and project management generally, for example through:

    —  adoption of strong programme and project management, and financial management, disciplines, including guidance;

    —  linking this to development of individual skills and competencies eg through the Professional Skills for Government initiative;

    —  central co-ordination and progress tracking for major projects;

    —  making use of relevant skills from outside the Department where these are necessary, eg business analysis, specialist project management, testing of software and new business processes; undertaking appropriate strategy reviews;

    —  engaging external scrutiny including OGC gateway reviews;

    —  ensuring that projects are adequately resourced;

    —  learning the lessons of previous projects and programmes; and

    —  encouraging a business culture in which necessary decisions are taken rather than avoided and risks are managed proactively.

  The Adelphi system has not been developed specifically to manage projects and programmes, but can assist nevertheless, for example:

    —  use of main cost centres to track cost of major projects;

    —  inclusion in the chart of accounts of the facility to include project codes which will be of particular use in tracking the cost of projects or programmes that cross-cut organisational boundaries and multiple financial years;

    —  use of financial reporting to report on the above;

    —  a best practice group (Chart of Accounts Review Panel) has been established to promote effective use of General Ledger coding;

    —  use of Adelphi procurement to manage contracts and contractors effectively; and

    —  Oracle Training Administration (OTA) has now been rolled out and is being used by training administration teams which will capture individuals' attendance eg on project or financial management courses.

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