Inspection report published An inspection of Handling of Complaints and MP’s Correspondence by Home Office Borders

Publishing the report, David Bolt said:

I am, of course, pleased that my report on the Home Office’s handling of complaints has finally been published. It is over a year since I sent the report to the Home Secretary, but the issues the report raises remain current and have taken on more significance since the publication of Wendy Williams’ Windrush report.

I first examined complaints handling by the Borders, Immigration and Citizenship System (BICS) in 2015, noting then that how well a public body handles complaints about the service it provides, or about the conduct of its staff, is rightly regarded as a key measure of its performance and that good complaint handling requires organisation, effort and commitment from management. The majority of the recommendations in my latest report are intended to improve the processes for managing complaints and I am pleased that these have been accepted.

However, the department’s rejection of my recommendation that it should “at least quarterly” publish the lessons it has learnt from the complaints it has received and the changes and improvements it has made as a result is, in my view, a missed opportunity to demonstrate that it is serious about making the cultural shift, towards greater openness, less defensiveness, and a willingness to engage and listen to its “customers”. Wendy Williams and others have identified that this is urgently needed, and the Home Office has said that it is committed to changing, but seeing quarterly reporting as a burden and potential threat to organisational learning suggests that it has still not fully understood the extent of the transformation required.

David Bolt

Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration

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