I used to work in the Home Office. It hasn’t changed

By Letters
Colnbrook detention centre, part of Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre.
Colnbrook detention centre, part of Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre. Photograph: Mark Kerrison/Alamy

The piece by a former Home Office decision-maker on asylum claims (The Home Office is failing refugees. I’ve seen it from the inside, 8 October) took me right back to 2006-07 and my time as a subcontracted trainer for the Home Office, inducting ab initio asylum case workers into what was known as the “new asylum model”. In a Home Office characterised at the time as “unfit for purpose”, this was a hurriedly cobbled together attempt at change management. At a stroke, tens of thousands of outstanding asylum claims were shoved aside as a “legacy” to be worked on in (even) slower time, and a new, supposedly more effective system for dealing with claims brought in. Clearly, no good came of it.

The litany of challenges, lack of humanity, and ethos of a “hostile environment” (a phrase not yet in common parlance then) was all too evident back then. So nothing has changed. What an embarrassment and national disgrace. Anyone with an ounce of compassion should be ashamed of a government that, to garner votes, allows a dysfunctional asylum processing system and promotes hostility to migrants.
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