Tuesday 26 March 2013


The UK Border Agency is a joke. It always has been. 

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 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!


  1. I give at most two decades before the rUK is a completely privatised country run by despots from the City.

    Twilight of Justice

    1. Well they are certainly doing their best in the NHS. From what I read recently even the blood supply service has been privatised to an AMERICAN company. Oh and don't forget the recently announced privatisation of the air/sea rescue services to Bristow's another American company.

      My guess is that in a VERY few years the WHOLE of the UK's public owned services will have been privatised to AMERICAN companies. I guess this is the price WE have to pay for allowing AMERICA to base some of ITS WMD's in OUR waters!

  2. Not our style, ch

  3. Is Lin Homer not one of thon creepy Common Purpose people?

    She's clearly on the inside.

    And Theresa May is a first class psychopath, she'd score very highly on the Bob Hare psychopath test - just another unfeeling glassy-eyed Westminster robot.

  4. Dunno Pa. All I know about her is she has been a woeful failure no matter which job she has done:

    Chief exec of Birmingham Council where she was returning officer at an election with massive postal voting fraud. The electoral commission suggested that it was wore than a Banana Republic.

    At the Borders Agency her performance was described as worse than a Whitehall Farce

    At the Dept of Transport she oversaw the disastrous West Coast Line franchise.

    She appears to be a walking disaster. So now she's in charge of tax.

    My head is in my hands as I type (not easy)

    She was awarder the order of the bath (a very high order) in 2008.

    She must know where bodies are buried, I reckon.

    1. I guess she is one of those people who continually gets promoted. Her promotion is purely based of course on how big the screw up she did in her LAST post. So I guess it is of no surprise that the BIGGER screw up she makes the BIGGER her next post becomes! Meanwhile back in the REAL world the REAL people on the front line are left to take all the s**** of the day and pick up the pieces whilst ALSO getting on with their day to day jobs without ANY recognition from their management!

    2. Seems so Arbroath.

      So far, that she completely cocked up elections in Birmingham, or that she ran the UKBA like some sort of circus, had no real effect on most of us in Scotland. Birmingham is another country and we don't really have an immigration issue here.

      Fair enough she cost Scotland £10 million with the incompetence of the West Coast line (about 10% of the total cost)

      However, when it comes to tax!!!! She can cause all kinds of misery at a personal level.

      She's a nut case.

  5. Tris

    I actually agree with CH I think if the Tories remain in power after the next election a lot of functions will be put to the private sector, for profit, and that will get them off the hook to a degree. Politicians in this country can't appoint staff it's that simple and something that I would prefer was handed over to civil servants to run but proper ones who know how the system works from years of experience.

    They just don't appoint the right people, the private sector is not the answer, we know that but the Tory mantra is private cronies good, public sector bad. I work with people in the public sector who are very good at getting the system to work as they have the experience, the problems start when the people without the experience start to get involved and think they know better.

    The sad reality I guess is that government after government have came along and made everything more complicated when in reality they should just let the right people get on with their job. It's like one of my old moans, if we want the Post Office to run efficiently and at a profit as the bloody posties to do not some guy who has flooted around football and tv all his executive life. Shocking.


    1. Sorry ask the posties how to do it lol.

  6. Yes Bruce, when I said "not our style" to CH, I means not Scotland's style.

    I don't see a Scottish government of whatever colour doing that.

    In theory you can see the idea. Civil Servants are used to a system where there is endless money and inefficiency is the watchword and far more staff than one needs... but that is now a totally out of date concept I think.

    In theory, an operation run like a business, by a sharp suited businessman is much more likely to perform... but that's rubbish too.

    Public service is about providing a service. You can't equate that to running a biscuit factory.

    People are people. They are not biscuits.

    There is a good deal more to it than that, of course, but, fundamentally as the Tories don't use the crap services they provide; as they all have mates who run companies that would like to provide them and as they like the idea of a job on the board when they retire from "public service" and have Lord attached to their names, they are indeed likely to hand out most of our services to private enterprise.

    And then they will sit back and watch us suffer, while they continue to send their kids to Eton and Harrow, and have their medical interventions courtesy of private health companies (many of which they will have pointed in the direction of lucrative contracts).

    These people are no efficient of course... look at some of the organisations which are charged with getting people back into work. Even the ones that have cheated on their figures still have worse results that jobcentre used to have... and job centre is crap.

    I've just come to the conclusion that British institutions are useless.

  7. tris

    Job Centre Plus and ATOS are in Tory eyes and Liam Byrne MP, Labour's Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, doing a fine job of duffing up the sick disabled and unemployed.
    Whilst those gits (the Torys say) at the Border Agency are not giving johnny foreigner a good enough going over.
    So Mrs May is making sure some vile and nasty things will be done to johnny foreigner to ensure the xenophobic UKIPPERS will return to the nastier Tory party.

  8. Good summation, Niko.

    You may have left out that fact that while people's minds are being directed to what a load of scroungers foreigners are; how they cost us an arm and a leg, coming here, claiming dole, bring sick, getting operations etc etc, we are forgetting just how incredibly incompetent Osborne and Cameron are, running the country into a ditch.

    When governments want to distract the public's attention the unemployed, the sick and the foreigners are usually pretty much the first things they have a pop at.

    The old are next!

  9. Get ready for more recession and the answer will be snow so more cuts to social security.


  10. Totally off-topic and apropos of nothing on this thread but that Jackie Baillie is on Newsnight Scotland just now...

    What a loathsome creature she is, I have the words but I don't want to deploy them.

    Also, its bloody snowing again but not lying. I love snow, but not if its not going to stick around, I'm fed up with winter and Jackie Baillie.

    Although I'm more fed up with the latter.

    1. I heard Bailley got a good battering this afternoon from Nicola, Pa.

      She really is a haver. No, she's not. She's an out and out liar.

      I used to rate her too...

      She went down in my estimation when she started to say anything ... no matter how ridiculous, just to have a go.

      This is not what we pay these people for.

      I'm sick to death of the snow, while being incredibly grateful that we have had very little. It';'s just gone on and on and one for what seems like (but isn't) months.

      Things should be warming up now. Maybe it's because there really hasn't been a proper summer for about 8 years. I need some warmth.

      Night all....

  11. Control of our border security should never have been outsourced to an arms-length organisation outside of the home office in the first place. Labour got that decision a bit wrong with hindsight.

    That said, I can't help feel May is motivated by ambitions with this. She wants to 'cement' her future leader credentials by a bold, decisive high visibility success (for herself) and this fits the bill.

    Lets see if this backfires on Ms Thunderbird. ;)

    1. I expect it will. The English Court's ruling today will not have done her leadership challenge any favours.

      I suspect that it will; be impossible for her, under direct control, to make anything of this border agency.

      It's a big gamble, because now it is directly her responsibility.

      My question though, is more general. She said that it made them secretive and unaccountable (or words to that effect). Does that not apply to other agencies?