IPPR report on British immigration policymaking

In April 2013, IPPR published ‘One step forward, two steps back: Evaluating the institutions of British immigration policymaking’.

The paper by Erica Consterdine explores four key issues affecting the ability of British immigration policy and administration bodies to do – and to be seen to do – a good job.

Naturally, it focuses on the Home Office and the UK Border Agency, raising a number of questions that are still to be answered following the announced abolition of UKBA in March.

The key issues addressed are:

  • The Home Office’s monopoly on immigration policymaking, even though it is a cross-cutting issue with impacts and implications for almost every department in Whitehall
  • The ‘culture of caution’ that threatens to suffocate the Home Office
  • The confused structure and poor communication that led the Home Office and UKBA to operate as almost completely separate organisations, widening the gap between policy and implementation
  • The tension between evidence-based policymaking and political demands, which undermines the ability of researchers and policymakers to make effective use of evidence to inform and support their decisions.

The author, doctoral researcher Erica Consterdine, conducted 51 interviews with current and former MPs and ministers, employers and employer associations, trade unions, NGOs, thinktanks and experts in the field, and civil servants, which informed and illustrate this paper.