Home Office in the media

https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/10/30/7013/

Home Office in the media: Wednesday 30 October

Home Office in the media

Today's leading stories include the release of the first part of the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry, and a legal challenge on the use of a visa algorithm.

Grenfell inquiry

There is widespread coverage this morning of the leaked Grenfell report. The coverage comments that the leaked document states that preparations by the London Fire Brigade for a disaster such as the Grenfell Tower fire were "gravely inadequate", and also notes that the blaze was made worse by the external cladding on the building.

According to this morning's coverage, the leaked report finds the tower's facade breached fire regulations and was the main reason for the rapid and lethal spread of the blaze up the building. It also finds a number of failures in the fire brigade's response including the fact they didn’t receive the right training and the fact that the stay-put policy “was held in place for too long”.

Survivors of the fire and victims’ families say they hoped the public inquiry report would look not only at the fire brigade but also at other factors that contributed to the tragedy.

Most articles carry a comment by Fire Brigades Union General Secretary Matt Wrack acknowledging "there may well be criticisms of the fire brigade in the report", but saying it is “unfair that firefighters are being subjected to more scrutiny than Government officials”.

Commenting on the leaked report the Today programme also noted that this is only the first part of the inquiry and we will know more about what happened after the second.

The report has since been published this morning, below is the comment to the published report.

A Government spokesperson said:

The Grenfell Tower fire was an appalling tragedy that destroyed lives – we must now bring about meaningful change to ensure this never happens again.

We set up the independent Inquiry to get to the truth of what happened, learn lessons and deliver justice for victims, survivors, bereaved families and the wider community.

Today’s report marks an important moment. We accept in full the principle of the Inquiry’s findings and recommendations, and will be working urgently to take these forward

Visa algorithm court action

The Home Office faces legal action over an algorithm that filters visa applications, the Guardian reports.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) is attempting to legally force the Home Office to explain on what basis the coding filters applications, the reporting adds.

The paper also notes that the JCWI is seeking access to all policy and guidance that deals with the process of streaming visa applications.

In a pre-action letter to the Home Secretary, the JCWI reportedly said the code risked “less favourable treatment for applicants on the basis of their nationality”.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

We have always used processes that enable UK Visas and Immigration to allocate cases in an efficient way.

The streaming tool is only used to allocate applications, not to decide them.

It uses data to indicate whether an application might require more or less scrutiny and it complies fully with the relevant legislation under the Equalities Act 2010.

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