Progress Made in Complaints & MP Correspondence and Abu Dhabi & Islamabad Visa Sections

The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, John Vine CBE QPM, published his second Spot Check report today. He said:

“For my second spot-check report, I looked at the Home Office’s handling of complaints and MP correspondence and its entry clearance operations in Abu Dhabi and Islamabad.

Both business areas had made significant progress against previous recommendations, and were well supported by professional and dedicated staff.”

COMPLAINTS AND MP CORRESPONDENCE

“An effective and efficient complaints procedure is essential if people are to have confidence that an organisation listens to concerns and takes appropriate action.

Staff in the Customer Service Improvement (CSI) team – who are responsible for dealing with complaints and MP correspondence – were genuinely committed to, and serious about, good customer service. They are now supported by organisational structures and resources which allow them to do their jobs more effectively.

Not only had my recommendations been acted upon, but it was apparent that considerable thought had gone into how to continue to improve the process beyond the findings of my report.

However, I am concerned at the difference in the complaints handling process being operated by Border Force in comparison to the other immigration directorates of the Home Office. I believe it would be sensible for the Home Office to consider whether it ought to be brought into line with the rest of the Department.”

ABU DHABI & ISLAMABAD

“In 2010 I conducted a full inspection of the visa issuing posts in Abu Dhabi and Islamabad. In light of the seriousness of my findings, I carried out a full re-inspection of these posts in 2011-12 to review progress against my recommendations.

My spot-check follow-up visit, further examined progress on the recommendations from both reports.

At both Abu Dhabi and Islamabad, I saw considerable evidence that process management in both posts had developed, staff engagement and management techniques had improved and management oversight was better.

I was pleased to note that the customer-service focus being promoted by the current head of UK Visas and Immigration has been adopted enthusiastically by staff at these two posts.

It was reassuring to see in these spot-check visits how much progress had been made since my inspections.

I am, however, concerned about the implications that the Javed ruling will have on the posts, particularly Islamabad. A significant number of cases have already been ‘paused’ until the outcome of the case and at the time of my visit, there were already 500 such cases in Islamabad.

There was also some concern in Islamabad about the limit placed on the number of cases they could send for ‘verification +’ checks with HMRC. The value of these checks is unquestionable and UKVI would benefit from negotiating a bigger allowance with HMRC.

In both posts, some staff mentioned problems that were still being encountered using certain IT programmes. The availability of a fully functioning and task-appropriate IT system will help these staff to do their jobs more effectively.”

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