Appointment process for the role of Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration

Appointment of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration – report released 19 January 2021 from Home Affairs Committee

Conclusion 14. We acknowledge that Mr Neal has an impressive CV and career history and have no doubt that he could make a significant contribution to public life in a suitable role. However, based on the pre-appointment hearing our conclusion, while not unanimous, was that we were unable to support the recommendation of Mr Neal as the preferred candidate for the particular role of Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration. Should the Home Secretary proceed with the appointment despite our concerns, we hope that steps will be taken to address the issues we have raised in this report, and we will look forward to working constructively with Mr Neal. We regret that Mr Neal was placed in an unfair and difficult position by a recruitment process which we believe was insufficiently robust. We hope that changes will be made to the recruitment process on the next occasion, in consequence of the concerns we have now raised.’

… and Priti Patel’s response: ‘I am satisfied that, following a full and robust recruitment process, he is the outstanding candidate for this role and intend now to proceed—subject to the usual pre-appointment processes being completed—with his appointment. It is clear to me that Mr Neal has all the necessary qualities to not only fulfil this role, but to make a huge success of it. I very much look forward to a constructive working relationship with him, as we both share a strong desire to improve the Borders, Immigration and Citizenship system.’

The record of the interview by Home Affairs Committee dated 15 December 2020 is here: