Boxes of files get lost. There is a 20+ year backlog of cases, some dating from the 1990s. There are 100,000 items of post which have not been opened, over 40,000 non-asylum cases have not been checked with the police data bases. No-one knows who is in the country and who is not.
And amazingly, the head of the UKBA, Lin Homes, who, It seems to me, must be one of the most incompetent managers in England, was recently given a new job as head of HMRC. God help taxpayers, great and small!
So today, in line with the government's recent realisation that UKIP has replaced the Tories as the home of the rabid right and the Liberals as the home of the protest voter, prime minster in waiting Theresa May has split UKBA and brought it back under government control... well, under Home Office control, heaven help us. (You'll remember that the Home Office was so inefficient that it didn't know that it was employing illegal immigrants as cleaners. Seriously!)
The thing that interests me is that Mrs May said in her speech: "UKBA was given agency status in order to keep its work at an arm’s length from ministers. That was wrong. It created a closed, secretive and defensive culture. So I can tell the House that the new entities will not have agency status and will sit in the Home Office, reporting to ministers."
Given that only this weekend we learned that Job Centre Plus (a government agency) was sanctioning people for no other reason than that they had to meet targets, which the Department of Work and Pensions 'knew nothing about', and that ATOS, a private company, contracted at enormous cost to the taxpayer to operate a diabolical campaign against disabled and sick people, was also operating a target scheme which, unsurprisingly, the government 'knew nothing about', isn't it time that the UK government woke up to the fact that it isn't just the Border Agency which operated a closed secret and defensive culture, and that it might be a good idea to look at all the other private companies and agencies which are failing dismally to provide good value for money to British taxpayers.
My first port of call, if I were the government, would be to look carefully at HMRC, where, as I mentioned Ms Homes has found a comfortable billet and which has, it seems, a record similar to the UKBA, with letters and phone calls going unanswered, hundreds of thousands of wrong tax codes, and files on pensioners going missing. Putting Homes in charge of this chaos was hardly a smart move!