A Whitehall body that announced a review of the accuracy of official documents on Priti Patel’s Rwanda policy could be overhauled or even scrapped as part of a bid to reduce the number of quangos.
The Telegraph understands that the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) has been earmarked as part of a government push to slim down the size and number of quangos and ensure that every public body is “a necessity”.
Any move to scrap the ICIBI would be likely to spark a fierce clash with opposition parties in Parliament, where ministers would need to overturn the section of the Borders Act introduced by Labour in 2007 to establish the body.
The disclosure comes as Priti Patel seeks an independent reviewer to examine the work of the body.
The role was designed to meet a recommendation by Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, who carried out an inquiry into the Government’s handling of the Windrush scandal and concluded that a review of the body’s “remit and role” was needed.
She said the review should consider giving the ICIBI “more powers with regard to publishing reports”.
But a Whitehall source suggested the review could lead to the body’s wings being clipped, saying: “Once the review is completed, ministers will be able to make a full and frank assessment of its future. Whether this is the right body, the right set-up – all that needs to be looked at.
“We must be the only country in the world that spends taxpayers’ money scrutinising what we’re doing instead of letting the opposition do it.”
The Government has been criticised by opposition MPs over Ms Patel’s deal with Rwanda, under which migrants who arrive in the UK illegally would be sent to the East African state to be considered for asylum and resettlement.
The timescale and criteria for relocating them is set out in new Home Office guidance designed to head off legal challenges by including a “formal, robust and comprehensive” assessment of Rwanda as a “safe country to which migrants can be sent”. Ms Patel has admitted that legal challenges could delay the removal of Channel migrants to Rwanda.
Last week, the ICIBI appealed for experts on Rwanda to take part in a review of the Home Office documents on the Rwandan policy.
It said the work would involve examining the Home Office’s country policy and information notes on the country to identify any errors “or omissions of fact”, and “assessing the extent to which information from source documents has been appropriately and accurately reflected”.
David Neal, the current Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration and a former head of the Royal Military Police, was appointed by Ms Patel last year.
His predecessor, David Bolt, issued a damning report last March that said a major outbreak of Covid at barracks holding Channel migrants was “inevitable”, having found it “unfit for human habitation” because it was so cramped and decrepit.
Government figures have also indicated that troubled quangos such as the DVLA and Passport Office could be shut down, merged, or privatised under the cost-cutting overhaul of public bodies launched by Jacob Rees-Mogg last month.
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( Information from telegraph.co.uk was used in this report. To Read More, click here )