A report published earlier this week by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman set out the number of investigated but unresolved complaints by government departments last year. The report provides detailed information about the 'big four' departments: the Home Office, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), which between them account for more three-quarters of the investigations conducted in 2015-16. 

Photo: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Across all departments, incorrect decisions and poor communication topped the reasons for complaints. Whilst perhaps justified in some regards, our experience of working with the Home Office on immigration related matters suggests that in the main they deal well with businesses and are pragmatic assisting with complex cases, especially where there are sensitive circumstances in play; there has certainly been a marked improvement in recent years. This is especially poignant when you consider that Home Office resources have been redirected in light of the Brexit decision, and immigration teams are under resourced.

The report goes on to state that it is important to stress that the Home Office decides successfully on a vast number of cases every year, and that the only cases the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman reported on are about unresolved complaints The Home Office may, however, wish to take the findings of this report as an incentive to consider implementing new systems, and perhaps outsourcing some of their workflow to vetted third parties. A number of MPs also recently urged the PM Theresa May to consider implementing a regional immigration policy similar to that in force in Canada, which would enable some parts of Britain to curb the numbers of foreign workers, while others could maintain an open-door policy. 

The all-party group on social integration suggested “regional immigration quotas would help boost the public debate, instil confidence in the system and significantly improve relations between new arrivals to the UK and longer established, local communities'. MPs acknowledged the different demands in parts of the country, with the London mayor Sadiq Khan suggesting – like the Scottish government – that a special rule for the capital would allow companies to continue to attract skilled workers.

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