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Chief Inspector criticises serious failings in Home Office’s asylum casework

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Home Office should improve the quality of interviewing and decision-making along with the recording of the reasons for decisions, David Bolt, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has recommended.

Releasing a new report that examined the Home Office’s asylum casework operations and the quality of decision-making, Mr Bolt said several areas needed improvement including aspects of the screening process.

The inspector noted that the most serious failings concerned the way in which allegations of torture were managed. Neither the Immigration Rule 35 process nor the Medico-Legal Report process was working as intended.

The inspection also found that decision-makers, and other staff within Asylum Operations (AO), were professional, dedicated, and demonstrated a commitment to fairness.

It also emerged that non-straightforward cases were being monitored effectively and decided quickly once barriers had been removed.

Mr Bolt recommended improving the management of further leave applications from unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to reduce delays and to maintain contact with the claimant.

The inspector further recommended to the Home Office to “identify from the Quality Analysis Team’s work why the screening process was falling short of ‘satisfactory’ and use the learning to ensure that guidance, training and supervision of interviewers is fit for purpose.” 

The inspection was conducted between March and July of 2015, just ahead of the sharp increase in Asylum applications in the second half of 2015.

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