The IAGCI invites tenders to evaluate COI on Albania, Bangladesh, Egypt and Sri Lanka

The Independent Advisory Group on Country Information invites tenders to evaluate the UK Home Office Country Information Products on Albania, Bangladesh, Egypt and Sri Lanka – Deadline for Application is Friday 27 January 2017.

  1. The Independent Advisory Group on Country Information (IAGCI) is part of the Office of the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration. Its purpose is to review the content of all Country of Origin Information (COI) produced by the UK Home Office. COI is information used in procedures that assess claims of individuals for refugee status or other forms of international and humanitarian protection. It is also used in policy formulation.
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  2. The IAGCI reviews UK Home Office COI products to provide assurance to the Independent Chief Inspector that the content is as accurate, balanced, impartial and as up to date as possible. COI is contained in:– –
    • Country Information and Guidance (CIG) reports; and
    • Responses to information requests.
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  3. CIG reports are generated on an ongoing basis for the top 20 asylum intake countries, and commonly address a specific type of common asylum claim(s). They are compiled from material produced by a range of recognised external information sources (news sources, academic literature, country guidance decisions, independent research reports, fact finding reports from UK government or from other governments, etc.). These documents also contain Home Office policy on the recommended position to be taken with respect to various types of claims, based on the available and accepted country information.
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  4. Information Request (IR) responses are made directly by case workers or others to the Home Office. These relate to information that is not covered in the CIG reports.  The IAGCI includes in its reviews a consideration of the COI included in a sample of (not more than ten) IR responses. Each IR response is typically a maximum of 2 pages in length.
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  5. IAGCI commissions country experts or experienced researchers to evaluate and report upon the country of origin information contained in UK Home Office information products. At its next meeting, the IAGCI requires a country expert to review the use of country information used in the following CIG Reports (4 separate tenders, 1 for each country):

Tender 1: Albania

Country policy and information note: sexual orientation and gender identity, Albania, December 2016

Country policy and information note: ethnic minority groups, Albania, October 2016

Tender 2: Bangladesh

Country information and guidance: minority religious groups, Bangladesh, March 2016

Country information and guidance: opposition to the government, Bangladesh, February 2015

Tender 3: Egypt

Country policy and information note: Christians, Egypt, November 2016

Country information and guidance: Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt, August 2016

Tender 4: Sri Lanka 

Country information and guidance: Tamil separatism, Sri Lanka, August 2016

Country information and guidance report: journalists, media professionals and human rights activists, Sri Lanka, September 2015


For each tender, the expert is also asked to consider a selection of approximately 10 Information Request Responses (maximum 2 pages each).-

  1. Country Information and Guidance Reports aim to provide an accurate, balanced and up to date summary of the key available source documents regarding the human rights situation, with respect to the issues selected for coverage, in the country covered. The purpose and scope of the reports are clearly set out in an introductory section of the document. Reviews should evaluate the reports in this context and seek to identify any areas where they can be improved. Specifically the review should entail:
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    (i) Assessing the extent to which information from source documents has been appropriately and accurately reflected in the CIG Reports.
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    (ii) Identifying additional sources detailing the current human rights situation in the country with respect to main grounds for asylum claims (which are noted in each CIG Report).
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    (iii) Noting and correcting any specific errors or omissions of fact.
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    (iv) Making recommendations for general improvements regarding, for example, the structure of the report, its coverage or its overall approach.
  1. Reviewers should follow these specific guidelines:
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    (i) The Country Information and Guidance Report should be reviewed in the context of its purpose as set out in paragraph 4 above, and the stated ‘cut off’ date for inclusion of information.
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    (ii) The review should focus exclusively on the country of origin information contained within the document, and not pass judgement on the policy guidance provided.
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    (iii) When suggesting amendments, rather than ‘tracking changes’ on the original CIG report, a list of suggested changes should be provided as part of a stand-alone review paper, and each report should be reviewed separately.
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    (iv) Any suggestions for additional information (or corrections to information in the document) must be referenced to a source document for the Home Office to be able to use it (preferably Open Source). The Home Office may use foreign language source documents, but only if the information is considered essential and is not available in English language source.
  1. Previous reviews of COI products can be viewed here.-
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  2. The reviewers selected to review the CIG reports for the above-named countries will be requested to attend an IAGCI meeting at the Office of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, when their review will be considered. This meeting is due to take place in March 2017.  Alternative arrangements may be made, if attendance is not possible.  Representatives from the UK Home Office will also attend the meeting to provide responses to comments and recommendations made in the review.
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  3. Reviews commissioned by IAGCI may be used as source documents for future CIG reports or other information products.-
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  4. In some cases CIG products reviewed by IAGCI are for countries being examined by the UK Home Office for possible designation (or partial designation) for the Non-Suspensive Appeals (NSA) provisions. NSA is a process whereby asylum and human rights applications from a designated country may be fast-tracked, without an in-country right of appeal. IAGCI examines the COI material for any countries proposed for the NSA process before designation.-
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  5. Researchers interested in conducting any of the reviews should submit:

    (i) a one page letter demonstrating their expertise in human rights and/or asylum issues pertaining to the particular country or countries; and

    (ii) their c.v.
  6. Payment for this work will be set at £2000.

Expressions of interest should be submitted to the IAGCI Chair, Dr Laura Hammond at laura.hammond@soas.ac.uk. Unfortunately, we are only able to accept expressions of interest from individuals and not from institutions or consultancy groups.

Reviews will be commissioned by 31 January 2017.   Final reviews will be required to be submitted by 20 February, 2017. The reviews will be discussed at a meeting of the IAGCI in early March 2017.

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