It is more than five years since John Reid arrived at the Home Office and denounced the Immigration Service as "not fit for purpose". Three Home Secretaries and one change of Government later, it seems to be business as usual. John Vine paints a familiar picture of poor internal communications, lax record-keeping and an apparent disregard for keeping ministers in the loop.
Three months ago the UK Border Agency admitted losing contact with more than 124,000 asylum and migration applicants. Just a day later it emerged that managers had routinely relaxed border checks in order to prevent massive queues at Heathrow and Calais. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was cleared over the relaxation of passport controls, although it is now disclosed that Damian Green, the Immigration Minister, gave the go-ahead to suspend checks on non-EU passengers with biometric visas.
Mrs May has responded with the third shake-up of the Immigration Service since Mr Reid's tenure. But it remains to be seen how fiddling with structures can tackle the problems – particularly as spending cuts bit. Another fiasco on Britain's borders (regardless of her culpability) and Mrs May could be switched to a lower-profile Cabinet post.Reuse content