On 8th October 2015, following the shambolic failure of the National Removal Command to provide a working fax number or email address in an emergency situation, we lodged a formal complaint to the Home Office. The full complaint can be read here
On 17th November 2015, we received the following unsatisfactory response:
Thank you for your email correspondence of 8 October. We are sorry that you found it necessary to complain about the service offered by UK Visas and Immigration.
You have expressed your dissatisfaction surrounding the difficulties you have experienced when attempting to send faxes to the National Removal Command (NRC), specifically in relation to your client, Ms JP and her immigration matter.
In order to safeguard an individual’s personal information and to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, we are limited in what information we can provide when the request is made by someone who is not the applicant. We have no record that Ms JP has provided written confirmation that she wish’s for you to act on her behalf. Therefore, we are unable to provide you with information relating specifically to Ms JP’s case.
With regards to your attempts at contacting us via fax, the NRC is aware of the difficulties that some individuals have experienced when attempting to contact teams responsible for detention and removal, and is implementing a change to systems to enable better communication. This includes the centralisation of correspondence systems, the publication of email addresses to encourage electronic communication, and a diversion of resource to ensure that correspondence from those with removal directions in place is prioritised.
Please accept our apologies for the service you received when attempting to contact us in order to seek an alternative method of contact in connection with this matter. I can assure you that we take all complaints seriously and we value the feedback provided in order to help improve the services we offer to customers.
If you remain dissatisfied following this response, you may ask for a review of your complaint within one month of the date of this response. Please submit full details in writing about why you remain dissatisfied, using one of the following methods: email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by post to UKVI Complaints Allocation Hub, Long Corridor 11th Floor, Lunar House, 40 Wellesley Road, Croydon, CR9 2BY. A review will be undertaken by a member of staff who has not dealt with your initial complaint.
Central Correspondence Team
Customer Service Operations
UK Visas and Immigration
Particularly frustrating about this response is the refusal to engage with the issues regarding our client JP on the basis that they have not received written notification that she wished us to act for her. Written notification was within the fax that was sent to the National Removal Command 15 times (and failed to receive each time) which is the whole basis of the complaint in the first place. Written notification was also within the email sent to the National Removal Command. Despite ‘taking our complaint very seriously’, the Home Office have (a) taken longer than the advertised time limit to respond to our complaint and (b) continue to ignore the fact that we submitted written confirmation of our client’s instruction to us and have brick-walled us yet again.
Even more frustrating is the vague promise that the National Removal Command ‘ is implementing a change to systems to enable better communication. This includes the centralisation of correspondence systems, the publication of email addresses to encourage electronic communication, and a diversion of resource to ensure that correspondence from those with removal directions in place is prioritised.‘ We have found this promise to be completely empty. Several days after providing us with the email address to contact the National Removal Command, the email address was blocked and now only sends an automated response saying ‘do not use this email address anymore’. We have continued to have serious problems communicating with the National Removal Command. Further, despite the promise, the National Removal Command have failed to provide a time-frame for when this new ‘improved’ system will be implemented. How many individual’s will have their right to justice effected while the National Removal Command continue to deny provision of a working email address to contact them?