David Blackburn

Luck shines on the brave

Luck shines on the brave
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Nevermind the bankers, the UK Border Agency should have been awarded £295,000 in performance bonuses. Phil Woolas’s defence that “brave” border workers deserved remuneration beyond their basic salaries is imaginative, though unremittingly egregious. The agency is plainly maladroit. Keith Vaz’s Home Affairs Select Committee has found:

'There is still a huge backlog of unresolved cases and UKBA simply must get through them faster than they have promised. What is really surprising and disappointing is the number of cases where the UKBA is basically saying “we don’t know” exactly what has happened to these applicants – over half the applications are concluded for some “other” reason than being granted or denied leave: too many of these are errors, and for the vast majority it appears UKBA just can’t tell us what’s happened. And it is astonishing that the latest efforts to get their house in order threw up another 40,000 files that had been effectively abandoned incomplete – yet, in 2007/8 29 employees received £295,000 in bonuses. No one can forget the previous Home Secretary describing UKBA to my predecessor Committee as “not fit for purpose”. We know the Agency has had a lot to contend with, but it is apparent that UKBA still has a long way to go before it is operating as it should.'

This episode provides a firm argument for a review of quangocracy, to force an improvement in services and save money by ushering inept quangos to the guillotine.