Home Office accepts recommendations
The Home Office has accepted a number of recommendations after a report analysing their front-end services found a number of issues with how their systems were functioning.
The report by Chief Inspector of Borders and UK immigration, David Neal, outlined issues with digital visa application processes and made recommendations as to how the Home Office should improve their digital systems.
The Chief Inspector said:
“Customers have indicated that for some of them the UK visa application process is their first interaction with the British government, and it is important to get this engagement right. Delivering an efficient and effective visa application service is in the interest of all parties.”
Issues found in the report
The report stated that a number of issues had been discovered as a result of the analysis, these included that:
- The digital processes used to apply for UK visas and citizenship were overly complex and difficult to understand
- Some websites of Home Office commercial partners were frustrating to use
- The Home Office’s “We Are Digital” support service, which is intended for those without digital skills, is difficult to access through the gov.uk website
- The appointment booking system is outdates
- Some digital services are not available to use abroad
Chief Inspector David Neal said:
“While I recognise that the development of digital services provides new ways of working and delivering services which are less paper-based, more secure and quicker, this needs to be balanced against the customer experience. This report highlights several concerns that need to be addressed by the Home Office and its commercial partners.”
The report made a series of recommendations which included urging the Home Office to work with their commercial partners and stakeholders to ‘improve the technical competency of systems for accessing and uploading supporting documents’.
Other recommendations included that guidance to front end systems on gov.uk and Access UK should be reviewed and needs improving and that data gathered from customer feedback should be put to better use.
In response to the report the Home Office said:
“We have made significant improvements to our front-end services, but we are keen to continue developing and improving our services to ensure they are accessible to customers who need them and are able to adapt to meet customers’ individual needs.”
The Home Office has accepted most of the recommendations, however, one suggestion for a post-implementation review of the frontend systems programme was rejected as the Home Office stated a review was no longer needed because they are able to ensure that any gaps in service provision are tackled.
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