UK Border Agency abolished and responsibilities returned to the Home Office

The following is a copy of the announcement today emailed to us by the UK Border Agency informing us that the Home Secretary has decided to end the Executive Agency Status of the UKBA and to reintegrate the UKBA back into the Home Office. Those who follow the developmental history of the former Home Office to UK Border Agency status and now back again to the Home Office may recall the pomp and fare of the announcement some years ago crying that the new ‘agency’ would resolve Britain’s immigration backlog and history of delay. Clearly those promises have failed and in an effort to realign the ‘agency’ with it’s objectives it is being taken back under direct Ministerial control. The UKBA today acknowledges that ‘many urgent improvements need to be made‘. The acceptance of the fact is welcomed, but what changes will come about through this re-re-structuring are ominous. No explanation is provided as to how it is anticipated that the new structure will be any more effective than that to which we have become accustomed. Time will tell…





Message from Rob Whiteman to all UK Border Agency partners

Subject: Changes to the UK Border Agency

26 March 2013


This afternoon the Home Secretary announced that she has decided to end the Executive Agency status of the UK Border Agency and bring its functions back within the Home Office.  The statement is available on the Home Office website.

While we have been making some progress in tackling backlogs, and improving performance and systems, we must acknowledge that many more urgent improvements are required. The changes which the Home Secretary has announced today assist in that challenge.

In keeping with the changes we made last year to Border Force, the Government is splitting up the UK Border Agency.  In its place will be an immigration and visa service and an immigration law enforcement organisation.  By creating two entities instead of one we will be able to create distinct cultures.  First, a high-volume service that makes high-quality decisions about who comes here, with a culture of customer satisfaction for business men and visitors who want to come here legally.  And second, an organisation that has law enforcement at its heart and gets tough on those who break our immigration laws.

More detail will follow after Easter but we see the opportunity for our volume business with a strength in customer care to be in one command, while we create a strong focus on dealing with non-compliance in the other.  Each will be led by a director general. Announcements on who will lead those will be made in due course.

Additionally, the operational systems management functions which we have created in the last year within the Agency – strategy and assurance, operations and resources and organisational development – will be integrated into the Home Office as part of a new, Home Office wide, Operational Systems Management command. I am delighted to be staying within the Home Office to lead this new command and to oversee the transition of the UK Border Agency into these new commands, supporting Mark Sedwill’s drive for operational transformation of the Home Office.

The two new front-line commands will bring greater management capacity to key areas of operational delivery, while sensibly bringing together operational support functions to improve efficiency and join up more effectively.

This is a significant programme of organisational change and we will continue to keep you regularly updated about how the changes are being implemented.  We also welcome your feedback as we create the new organisations and tackle the challenges that are explained in the Home Secretary’s statement.

All the best,


Rob Whiteman, chief executive, UK Border Agency