The Home Office has confirmed that a computer system that has been in development since 2010 for processing UK immigration data has been ditched.
The scheme cost in the region of £350 million and was designed to handle immigration and asylum applications. Dubbed the 'Immigration Case Work' system, it was supposed to be the flagship IT programme for the department but fell short of its targets, a report from the National Audit Office has stated.
"Delays and problems" were cited as the cause for shutting down the programme and staff have been forced to move back to an old system that freezes regularly. Maintaining this older system is likely to incur further costs until a replacement system can be brought in.
Looking further into the departments issues, the report also revealed that the backlog in UK visa applications and other areas of the immigration systems is still too high. In fact, the NAO study found that at the end of March 2014 there were still 301,000 open cases on the books in UK Visas and Immigration. This is despite the fact that it is over a year since Home Secretary Theresa May organised a restructuring of the department to address the "closed" culture within the UK Border Agency and improve overall efficiency.
Chairwoman of the Commons' Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge MP, commented on the report's findings: "The department has still not solved some of the big problems of the former UK Border Agency. It’s unacceptable that over 25,000 asylum claims are still waiting to be dealt with and the Department does not know if over 175,000 people who have no right to be in the UK have left or not."
She added that there is further concern over the department's plans to track its budget cuts and how exactly it plans to keep spending on track in future years.