Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration Report: An Inspection of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme

This House of Lords Library Briefing provides background information on the recent report from the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, An Inspection of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, ahead of a debate on this subject scheduled to take place on 7 June 2018.

On 7 June 2018, the House of Lords is scheduled to debate a motion moved by Lord Scriven (Liberal Democrat) on the “report of the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, An Inspection of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme”.

On 8 May 2018, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) published a report entitled An Inspection of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. In it, David Bolt, the Chief Inspector, broadly praised the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) as “essentially effective”. However, Mr Bolt caveated his praise for the scheme by cautioning that the Home Office, which acts as a cross-government lead for the VPRS, “could do more to analyse and evaluate the various stages of the resettlement process, with a view to sharing ‘best practice’ and achieving greater consistency of treatment and outcomes”. In addition, Mr Bolt argued that there could be lessons to learn from an assessment of whether resettled refugees had successfully integrated, with any lessons potentially benefitting those still in the early stages of the resettlement process. Finally, Mr Bolt urged the Home Office to be aware of how its processes affected others, including partner bodies of the scheme.

The ICIBI report made seven recommendations in respect of the VPRS. Two of these, regarding use of refugees’ pre-departure time and mechanisms to remove policy misalignments across government, were accepted in full by the Government. The remaining five were partially accepted. These regarded staffing, data, ‘best practice’ and guidance, closer contact with local authorities, and communications. Mr Bolt has described the Government’s response as “disappointing”, arguing that it committed the Government to few, if any, actions, and disputed or rejected several of the report’s findings. As a result, Mr Bolt alleged that the Government appeared “closed to the idea that there is any room for improvement” in how the scheme was managed and operated.

This House of Lords Library Briefing provides background information on the VPRS. It then considers commentary on the report, before summarising the report’s seven recommendations and accompanying government responses. The Briefing concludes with a selection of recommended further reading.