James Cleverly rejects claims Home Office was wrong to say it has cleared legacy asylum backlog – UK politics live

Home secretary said the government had met its targets despite Labour claiming this is ‘false’Following our interview with new Ofsted chief inspector Sir Martyn Oliver, and his announcement of a pause in inspections to allow for improved training in mental health issues, here’s a response from Prof Julia Waters, the sister of Ruth Perry, the headteacher whose death last year set off calls for urgent reforms to the way Ofsted inspects schools in England.Ofsted badly needs a new approach from its leaders, so it is reassuring to know that the new chief inspector is starting his job with an understanding that there is a need for significant change.I look forward to meeting him later this week to discuss the key issues that my family, and many others, feel need to be addressed.This announcement shows that the new chief Iinspector has a greater understanding of the problem. Allowing time for training is a positive signal.Next, Sir Martyn needs to agree with the profession immediate steps that will bring sufficient confidence to allow time to develop much needed long-term reform. I look forward discussing this with him this week.The number of initial asylum application decisions taken last year was more than three times as high as the figure for the previous year, the Home Office says. That is partly because there has been a big increase in the number of staff employed to deal with these cases. The Home Office says:Local provisional MI [management information data] shows that, in the 4 weeks from 20 November to 17 December 2023 there were 20,481 initial asylum decisions made. This number of decisions compares to a total of 20,039 decisions made in the whole of 2021.There were more than 112,138 initial asylum decisions made on asylum cases between 1 January and 28 December 2023. In the year 1 January to 31 December 2022 there were 31,766 initial decisions.But the number of applications considered dealt with because they have been withdrawn or considered not valid has also increased hugely, the Home Office says. Withdrawn applications are almost three times as high as they were in 2022. The Home Office says:Of the 112,138 initial asylum decisions made between January and 28 December 2023, 35,119 were non-substantive decisions. In the year 1 January to 31 December 2022 there were 13,093 non-substantive decisions. Non-substantive decisions include withdrawn applications and administrative decisions (void and deceased).A claim is seen as withdrawn if an applicant fails to maintain contact with the Home Office, fails to complete an asylum questionnaire properly, or fails to attend a personal interview. When changes were made to the the definition of withdrawn claims over the summer, an unnamed Home Office source told the Guardian: “This is done to basically bring the backlog down. A lot of interviews were booked to withdraw as many claims as possible (if people didn’t turn up).”Some 602 small boats were detected crossing the Channel in 2023, compared to 1,110 in 2022, the Home Office says. That implies crossings have almost halved. But people smugglers are using larger boats than in the past, and the number of individuals crossing the Channel on small boats last year was down by 36%.The number of operations to stop small boat crossings increased last year, the Home Office says. It says:Based upon information provided by French authorities, the number of small boats prevented from crossing the channel by the French have increased over the last year.The Home Office undertook 707 Organised Crime Group disruption activities between 1 October 2022 and 30 November 2023, compared to 554 between 1 October 2021 and 30 November 2022. These numbers will not include additional work aimed at organised crime groups by the National Crime Agency (NCA).The number of hotels being used to house asylum seekers fell from 398 at the end of October 2023 to 348 on 17 December, the Home Office says. Continue reading…

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Author : Andrew Sparrow

Publish date : 2024-01-02 10:53:37

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Tags : The Guardian

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