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Quality Initiative and Integration

Refugees from Ethiopia who came to the UK in 2006.

In line with UNHCR's supervisory role (as set out in Article 35 of the 1951 Convention), the previous UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers, during his visit to the UK in October 2003, offered UNHCR's expertise to work with the Home Office on improving the quality of first instance asylum decision-making. Following this offer, and further discussions with the Home Office exploring how best to structure and implement a UNHCR contribution, the Quality Initiative project was established.

Quality Integration Project

As of 2010, UNHCR continues to work with the Home Office to implement recommendations stemming from collaborative work under the Quality Initiative.  Recognising the Home Office's significant progress in developing the area of Quality Assurance in asylum, the project has now moved into a phase of supporting the Home Office's continued development and integration of quality assurance mechanisms into the various areas of work that go towards addressing international protection concerns.  This new phase and the related joint project between the UNHCR and the Home Office is known as the Quality Integration project.

Third Report (December 2013)

Considering the Best Interests of a Child Within a Family Seeking Asylum

Key Findings

Second Report (June 2013)

Untold Stories: Families in the Asylum Process

Key Findings

First Report (August 2010)

     Full Report            Key Findings

Quality Initiative Project

The Quality Initiative project ran from 2004 to 2009 and aimed to positively influence the quality of first instance decision-making and related asylum procedures in the UK and more specifically, in the Home Office - the Government department responsible for this area of work.  UNHCR's contribution has always intended to be complementary to other mechanisms that ensure due process and fairness in asylum procedures.

Over the course of the project, six reports setting out UNHCR's findings under the remit of the project and detailing specific recommendations were supplied to the Minister for Borders and Immigration on a confidential basis.

Findings highlighted a number of causes for concern, focusing in particular on the application of the refugee definition, the approach to establishing the facts ("credibility") and the conduct of interviews.

Recommendations covered areas including child asylum cases, the detained fast-track (DFT), recruitment, training & accreditation, identification and management of stress, interviews, use of interpreters, provision of COI and guidance, targets, assessment and monitoring of decisions and interviews.

Sixth Report (Apr 2008 - March 2009)

     Full Report            Key Findings

Fifth Report (Feb 2007 - March 2008)

     Full Report            Key Findings

Fourth Report (March 2006 - Dec 2006)

     Full Report             Key Findings

Third Report (Sep 2005 - Feb 2006)

     Full Report            Key Findings

Second Report (Feb 2005 - Aug 2005) 

     Full Report            Key Findings

First Report (March 2004 - Jan 2005) 

     Full Report            Key Findings 




Useful Links

You can find the Minister's responses to our reports here.

For more information about UNHCR's Quality Initiative and Integration projects please contact us.