Chief Inspector growing frustrated with Home Office’s delay in publishing small boat report

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Mr Neal submitted the report to the Home Secretary on February 24, 2022 and it has still not been published almost 5 months later.

The Minister of the Interior has undertaken to publish my reports within 8 weeks of their receipt. According to this agreement, this report should have been published no later than April 25, 2022.

The inspection looked at border security and vulnerability at Tug Haven and Western Jet Foil and there is strong public interest in it being released. I am afraid that unless it is tabled in Parliament this week, there will still be a delay during the summer holidays.

The inspection covered the period from September 2021 to December 2021 and included visits to the now closed Tug Haven and Western Jet Foil facility in Dover in January 2022.

Testifying at a Home Affairs Select Committee hearing on June 8, 2022, David Neal said he expected the report to be released imminently. He went on to say that of the 12 reports he had submitted to the Home Secretary since his appointment in March 2021, only 2 were published within the 8-week deadline.

I’ve spoken with senior Home Office officials, and I don’t think there’s any disagreement with the content of the report or the recommendations. I understand they’re concerned about the tone of my foreword, and I suspect that’s part of the reason for the delay.

My report contained 4 recommendations, all time-limited. Failure to publish within the suggested timeframe begins to devalue the purpose of independent oversight, and continuing to fail to publish such an important report undermines my independence.

David Neal Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, July 2022

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