Home Office asylum system from '90s misses EOL deadline, no new timetable in place

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Exclusive The UK’s Home Office has grounded to meet its ain deadline for nan status of a decades-old migration database successful a programme captious to cutting nan backlog of asylum claims, presently astatine historical highs.

The authorities section successful complaint of policing, migration and borders said plans to extremity usage of nan Casework Information Database (CID), which dates from nan 1990s, by September this twelvemonth had been axed, pinch nary replacement timetable successful place.

A Home Office charismatic told The Reg nan section was still "working astatine gait to decommission CID to amended ratio for each caseworkers."

Last month, authorities figures showed nan asylum declare backlog was astatine a grounds high, arsenic much than 175,000 group were stuck successful nan exertion process for exile position astatine nan extremity of June 2023, an summation of 44 percent year-on-year.

In June, nan UK’s nationalist spending watchdog reported that asylum caseworkers were expected to usage CID and its replacement, dubbed Atlas, and had to “double key” accusation betwixt them. “The Home Office told america this ended successful April 2023,” nan National Audit Office said [PDF] astatine nan time.

“The Home Office expects to decommission its aged strategy by September 2023, but advancement will dangle connected managing competing demands for creation and integer capacity from different Home Office integer programmes, specified arsenic nan Future Border and Immigration System,” nan NAO added.

Home Office officials said double keying into CID and Atlas ended for 90 percent of cases successful October 2022 pinch nan remainder ceasing double keying successful June 2023. The section did not disclose why it was basal to support CID up and running.

The NAO said nan caller exertion programme is portion of nan thrust to amended nan productivity of caseworkers, but “delays processing Atlas person affected caseworker productivity and elder programme unit told america that it could effect advancement connected nan Programme if delays continue”.

The Home Office had besides told nan Infrastructure and Projects Authority - nan associated Cabinet Office-Treasury portion search awesome authorities projects - that it would discontinue CID earlier September. In a submission to nan IPA, nan Home Office said its “increased transportation assurance is owed to nan Programme delivering to schedule against nan revised 2022… scheme and remaining connected way to adjacent September 2023."

The consequence standing for nan Immigration Platform Technologies programme, which replaces a number of systems including CID, moved from Red successful Q4 21/22 (an IPA score) to Amber successful Q4 22/23-Q4 (a standing from nan department’s elder responsible owner).

Among nan justifications for nan improved standing was that nan "revised plan, which schedules programme closure successful September 2023, received support April 2022 and nan Programme is delivering to schedule."

According to an NAO study successful 2004 [PDF] CID “started arsenic a database containing basal specifications astir asylum seekers and was initially expected to beryllium an interim solution."

The Home Office had launched a Casework Programme successful 1996, “with nan purpose of processing a bespoke, paperless casework system," nan NAO said. It awarded nan statement to Siemens Business Services nether nan arguable Private Finance Initiative.

In a 1999 report, nan authorities auditors commented connected nan hold successful finishing nan strategy and successful 2001, nan Home Office stopped further improvement of nan system, alternatively choosing to proceed processing connected nan CID.

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The CID strategy was set to beryllium replaced by an Immigration Case Work (ICW) system successful December 2008, which was intended to support applications for visas and immigration. But nan section was forced to constitute disconnected £347 cardinal spent connected ICW successful 2013. In 2014, the National Audit Office found that nan CID strategy is plagued by problems specified arsenic freezing, a "lack of interface pinch different systems, resulting successful manual information transportation aliases cross-referencing," and a deficiency of controls.

A random insubstantial from authorities IT investigation group Kable says CID was maintained by French outsourcer Atos astatine a costs of astir £4.7 cardinal a year. It is based connected an Oracle database pinch an exertion built successful Visual Basic 6, which was released successful 1998.

In 2014, personnel of parliament James Brokenshire, past Minister for Security and Immigration, wrote to nan Public Accounts Committee chairman to opportunity that “much activity has been done connected nan bequest systems (CID) since 2012 to stabilise capacity and make them much resilient, to trim some nan number and severity of IT incidents that impact migration operations." ®