IT issues with Home Office casework system have halved in recent months, immigration minister claims

Department has seen impact of ‘IT stabilisation’ according to Robert Jenrick

The Home Office’s new immigration caseworking platform experienced various IT problems last year that caused delays to visa applications, a minister has admitted.

But, according to immigration minister Robert Jenrick, instances of such issues have been cut in half in recent weeks, following work to stabilise the technology underpinning the Atlas platform.

Atlas is intended to fully replace the 23-year-old Case Information Database. The intention was that this process would be completed by the end of 2021, but comments made by Jenrick late last year indicate that the current projection is that all casework will be moved to the new system by the end of this year.

In comments made this week in answer to a written parliamentary question from Labour MP Alex Sobel about delays to visa applications, the minister admitted that the new immigration processing platform had been blighted by various technical problems late last summer.

“In August 2022, some applications processed through the Atlas caseworking system were impacted by a number of unrelated IT incidents which were spread across the end -to -end case-working digital platform,” he said. “These issues were varied and due to some initial delays in being able to identify them, some customers directly informed us of delays in their applications. A programme of IT stabilisation was commissioned and good progress has been made to date in both understanding and tackling the root causes of these incidents and also proactively identifying issues when they happen, before they adversely affect customers.”

Jenrick added: “The total number of incidents being raised in early 2023 has fallen by more than half and IT support continues to focus on resolving the underlying issues and creating better proactive reporting, removing the impact on customers and wider case-working service standards.”

In an answer provided five months ago, Jenrick said that the “although almost all application types” are now processed via Atlas, but that “some more complex operational areas like family and human rights, settlement, nationality and asylum have legacy CID cases”.

PublicTechnology last year revealed that the Home Office spent £1.5m to employ almost 50 contractors to manually review and resolve issues caused by missing or duplicated data entries in the two immigration casework systems.

Procurement documents also revealed that, even after this process is complete, a “level of enduring data-quality issues may be accepted” in UK immigration systems for some time to come.

Sam Trendall

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