§ Lord Avebury
asked Her Majesty's Government:
On what dates, since 25 March 1999, the Home Office gave press briefings on the progress of the private finance initiative partnership with Siemens Business Services on the Immigration and Nationality Department's casework system; whether the full computer system is still to be made available for testing in June 1999 and, if so, on what date; whether they can now give a more precise date than "early 2000" for the system to be in full operation; and whether they will give the latest available figures to correspond with those given by the Lord Williams of Mostyn in the Official Report on 25 March (H.L. Deb., col. 1418). [HL2418]
§ Lord Williams of Mostyn
The Home Office Press Office is in daily close contact with staff in the Croydon Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) offices and provides regular briefing assistance to the media as well as specific factual responses. The number of such occasions is not recorded. In addition, Ministers have undertaken upon request on-the-record briefings and interviews for home and overseas newspapers and broadcast media which have focused either exclusively or in part upon the situation in the IND offices. We 33WA expect within the next few weeks to be able to provide more accurate estimates of caseworking outputs.
Testing of the new computer system is expected to begin on 14 June. Implementation of the system will not begin until it has been thoroughly tested by IND and will he planned so as to minimise any further disruption to IND's business. It is therefore not possible to be any more specific about when implementation will be complete.
As of 13 May, a total of 143,735 cases were waiting to be determined in the Integrated Casework Directorate and special units dedicated to clearing the oldest asylum cases. Of these cases, 76,132 were asylum applications, nearly 10,000 of which were in the Case Allocation Unit.