PCS: Severe cuts make UKBA ineffective

The UK Border Agency is struggling to handle the backlog of asylum cases because of cuts, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has said.

A highly critical report recently released by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration found significant failings in the UKBA's handling of unresolved cases.

The PCS, which represents UKBA staff, said this “unacceptable” situation has come about because of the government’s severe cuts to the Agency with 5,200 jobs planned to go by 2014.

The report by John Vine, Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration identified inefficiency, poor customer service and a lack of security and data checks as key failings in the way the UKBA dealt with the legacy of unresolved asylum cases.

The report also showed that 147,000 cases still remain unresolved – and that at one point there were 150 boxes of unopened mail from asylum applicants.

Mr. Vine’s report also accused officials of supplying inaccurate information to Parliament about the backlog of asylum cases and the progress that was being made.

Responding to the report PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Instead of attacking public services the government should take this report and invest in the Agency rather than driving it – and our members – into the ground.

"Morale at the Agency is rock bottom but this report, from an independent chief inspector, proves the department needs to employ more staff, not fewer. The officials who misled Parliament must also be held to account.”

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