ICIBI Report Commissioned by Home Secretary Criticises Administrative Review​

In a recent report published by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David bolt, he criticised the Administrative Review process. Mr Bolt states that the new administrative review process is not a satisfactory replacement of the previous mechanism which enabled applicants to a Right of Appeal to the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal. We briefly outline for you below his review of  Admin Review. 

Last month, David Bolt, the Chief Inspector of Borders & Immigration, published his findings on the inspection of the administrative review processes which were introduced following the 2014 Immigration Act. The report which was commissioned by Home Secretary Theresa May, has been highly critical of certain aspects of the administrative review process. The inspection found that overall there was significant room for improvement in respect of the effectiveness of administrative review in identifying and correcting case working errors, and in communicating decisions to applicants. The report also found that despite arguing that the introduction of administrative reviews would save £261m over 10 years, the Home Office have yet to do any analysis of the cost savings.

Purpose & Scope of Administrative Review Report

In June 2015, the Home Secretary commissioned a report from the ICIBI that addressed the three points specified in the Lords amendment to the 2014 Immigration Act (section 16):

  • the effectiveness of administrative review in identifying case working errors;
  • the effectiveness of administrative review in correcting case working errors; and
  • the independence of persons conducting administrative review (in terms of their separation from the original decision-maker).

In considering these points, the inspection also looked to assess:

  • whether administrative reviews were being concluded within Home Office service standards;
  • the consistency of approach between in-country, at the border and overseas administrative review functions;
  • whether administrative review outcomes were being used to improve the quality of initial decision-making; and
  • whether any cost savings had been achieved as a result of the introduction of administrative reviewss

ICIBI’s Criticisms

In reviewing the administrative review process, the ICIBI found:

  • Home Office figures, between 20 October 2014 and 31 August 2015, showed that 241 online applications for an Administrative Review were rejected as invalid, from a total intake for the period of over 3,000. Overseas ARs could not be made online, and there were no collated figures for the number of rejections. However, the ICIBI discovered that in fact, valid applications were being incorrectly rejected and that the quality assurance process was not identifying and rectifying this.
  • There was an over-reliance on the initial refusal decision letter, with Administrative Review decision notices reiterating the previous grounds for refusal without addressing the applicant’s points.
  • Significant number of case working errors.
  • The Home Office’s internal management information about AR outcomes in respect of entry clearance decisions made overseas was unreliable.
  • For rejected online AR applications, there was significant scope to improve record keeping, including correspondence with applicants.

The Home Office have accepted this criticism and the recommendations made by the Chief Inspector David Bolt have been strongly noted. The Home office has stated that that they are hiring additional senior staff and are providing training to its staff.  Lastly there are also proposals of creating an independent panel so reviewers can be monitored.

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