UK Border Agency immigration case work system delayed by one year

The UK Border Agency's new £385 million Immigration Case Work (ICW) system is one year behind schedule and has exceeded its original budget by £28m, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

In a recent report the NAO says that the ICW is crucial to the UKBA's efforts to improve casework processing. The new system will create a streamlined case work process, saving the government money. It is also expected to improve the quality and accuracy of immigration decisions and provide faster service to the public through the use of online self-service applications.

However, the NAO claimed that the ICW "suffered from a loss of focus, poor governance structures and optimism bias in planning and reporting."

The NAO does acknowledge that the ICW has successfully implemented some important procedures such as the i-Search function that enable caseworkers to access information held across 12 different systems more quickly. However, there has been a significant delay in implementing the ICW system.

"The UK Border Agency and the Border Force deserve credit for taking on an ambitious programme of change, but both organisations face a steep climb to ensure this work delivers both value for money and a good service," Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said. "The real leadership test will be whether the agency can transform casework processing without relying solely on new IT."

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