Independent Chief Inspector publishes report on the UK Border Agency’s handling of complaints and MPs’ correspondence

LESSONS TO LEARN: INDEPENDENT CHIEF INSPECTOR OF THE UK BORDER AGENCY PUBLISHES REPORT ON HANDLING OF COMPLAINTS AND MPs’ CORRESPONDENCE

A report published today by the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency has found that although the UK Border Agency has developed a clear approach to the handling of complaints and correspondence, it has yet to demonstrate it is learning lessons consistently or addressing the root cause of complaints.

The report “Lessons to Learn: The UK Border Agency’s Handling of Complaints and MPs’ Correspondence” focused on two areas fundamental to the UK Border Agency Customer Strategy – complaints and correspondence handling for the general public and Members of Parliament.

Independent Chief Inspector, John Vine CBE QPM found that progress had been made both with the overall strategy for handling complaints and correspondence and in dealing with complaints of serious misconduct. He was however disappointed that greater progress had not been made in other areas, as he found inconsistent audit trails, lack of clarity regarding whether complaints were substantiated and limited evidence that lessons were being learned.

The UK Border Agency had introduced new initiatives to improve its service, including the creation of MP Account Managers but had yet to identify clearly how it assessed the success of these initiatives in order to improve customer service overall.  In terms of MPs’ correspondence, the Agency was also potentially addressing the symptoms of a problem rather than the cause as there was no evidence that they were tackling the issues giving rise to the correspondence in the first place.

Mr Vine said “I was pleased to see a significant improvement in the UK Border Agency’s handling of serious misconduct complaints. Moving forward however, I expect the UK Border Agency to develop a much more dynamic approach to addressing the root cause of complaints and correspondence. That’s the real test for an organisation in convincing the public it’s committed to continuous improvement and it’s a significant step the UK Border Agency has yet to make.”

Download the report in full as a PDF here:

Lessons to learn: UK Border Agency’s handling of complaints and MPs’ correspondence (PDF, 492KB). Published 7 July 2010

Alternatively, the full inspection report will be made available alongside previous inspection reports.

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