On 10th November, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s call for evidence closed. The Chief Inspector was seeking contributions from members of the public and stakeholders on the Right to Rent.
Specifically, the Chief Inspector will examine:
- planning for the initial introduction of RtR, including success criteria, and the identification and mitigation of risks and issues;
- evaluation of Phase 1 of RtR (rolled out in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton from 1 December 2014) and how this informed the development of RtR, including sanctions for non-compliance;
- evaluation of RtR sanctions (introduced from 1 December 2016);
- take up of RtR measures by Home Office enforcement and casework teams, specifically the issuing of civil penalties, pursuit of criminal prosecutions, immigration controls and removals; and
- joint working and data-sharing between the Home Office and other government departments, agencies and other bodies.
Interestingly, the Chief Inspector will not examine any consequences of the Right to Rent such as discrimination on the basis that this has already been addressed by other bodies and the media. However, the examination is conducted because of a statutory duty placed on the Chief Inspector to hold the Home Office to account. Consequently, the report published following this examination is put before the Home Secretary. However, beyond that we do not know what if anything, will be achieved by this examination as the Home Secretary has no duty to make any changes as a result of the Chief Inspector’s conclusions.
Action may be taken if the report detects something worrying, such as a large number of unpaid civil penalties. However, given the strong political drive behind Right to Rent it may be that any criticisms will fall on deaf ears.