Country Information Policy Unit Reports

Home Department written question – answered on 26th January 2005.

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Photo of Mrs Barbara Roche Mrs Barbara Roche Labour, Hornsey and Wood Green

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who compiles the information in the Home Office Country Information Policy Unit reports that are referenced by asylum adjudicators and Home Office officials; and what their research and professional qualifications are.

Photo of Des Browne Des Browne Minister of State (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Nationality)

The Home Office Country Information and Policy Unit (CIPU) is staffed by generalist civil servants. Although aptitude for research is an important element in selection of staff, it has not been considered necessary to staff the unit with professionally qualified researchers. This is because CIPU does not undertake primary" research. The country information material it produces is secondary" research—identifying and providing a summary of primary research carried out by others.

The independent Advisory Panel on Country Information (APCI) has recommended that CIPU's research skills be strengthened by the introduction of professional research staff who would have supervisory, control and monitoring tasks in the preparation of Country Reports and other country information outputs. This recommendation is being addressed in the context of the reorganisation of CIPU's functions that I announced on 8 September 2004, Hansard, column 119WS.

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