Home AffairsLetter from Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive, UK Border Agency, to the Chair of the Committee, 18 December 2012

In my letter of 21 November I advised you that the controlled archives had been closed. We have now completed our full internal assurance of the closure alongside Deloitte’s external assurance of the process. Attached is our report on the closure of the controlled archives including the final number of cases closed, the numbers located and transferred to caseworkers to progress and the details of the assurance process. Also enclosed is a copy of Deloitte’s external assurance report. I would draw your attention to the limitations, disclaimers and restrictions in the report, in particular, that the report is private and that it was produced for the Agency and not for the Committee. 

As I explained, if in the future an individual from a closed case does come to the attention of the UK Border Agency, the case will be reactivated and progressed. We have put processes in place to ensure that where UK Border Agency staff encounter any of these individuals through allegations, representations, intelligence or enforcement activity, they notify the Case Assurance and Audit Unit (CAAU) so that they can reactivate the case. If it is found that one of these cases has no right to remain in the UK, we will pursue their removal. We have also noted the records of these closed cases on our watchlist so that if an applicant applies for entry clearance or attempts to re-enter the UK, staff at our posts abroad or at the border will be alerted and will take into account their previous immigration history in the consideration of their case.

CAAU will now focus their attention on considering the remaining live legacy cases and I will report on our progress with these cases in my regular updates.

As at 19 November 2012 there were 40,900 live legacy cases. This breaks down as:

33,900 asylum cases

7,000 migration cases

The Independent Chief Inspector’s (ICI) report of 22 November highlighted Active Review cases noting that these cases had not been included in the statistics provided to the Committee about the legacy cases. The Committee asked further about these cases at the evidence session on 27 November with Jonathan Sedgwick and Lin Homer.

Active Reviews are cases where individuals have been granted limited leave to remain by the Case Resolution Directorate or CAAU and have been given status in the UK. They were captured as conclusions in the legacy reports. We did not continue to include them in the legacy statistics because, on the expiry of their limited leave, these individuals will need to a make a fresh application for further leave should they wish to remain in the UK and therefore no action was required by the CRD and CAAU teams working on the legacy cases.

We have conducted further analysis of the Active Review cases since we shared our data with the Independent Chief Inspector. We estimate that there are currently 11,000 Active Review cases. These cases will be managed as part of a new Directorate, Complex Casework Directorate, which will be established early next year to manage the Agency’s older and complex cases.

UK Border Agency report on the closure of the controlled archives.

Deloitte’s external assurance report.

Prepared 25th March 2013