Section 48(2)(j) UK Borders Act 2007 provides that the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) shall:
review and make recommendations on … the content of information on conditions in countries other than the United Kingdom which the Secretary of State compiles and makes available, for immigration and asylum purposes, immigration officers and other officials.
To assist the Chief Inspector in fulfilling this statutory role, a group of experts serving as the Independent Country Information Advisory Group (IAGCI) regularly reviews Origin Country Information (COI) products. published by the Ministry of the Interior. The Ministry of the Interior refers to these products in the procedures for assessing applications for refugee status or other forms of international and humanitarian protection. COI is also used in policy formulation.
The IAGCI reviews products to assure the Chief Inspector that the content is accurate, balanced, objective and up-to-date. The COI is contained in:
- Country Policy and Information Notes (CPINs)
- responses to requests for information
CPINs are generated on a rolling basis, generally focusing on the countries from which most asylum claims originate. These reports can provide general information about a country, address aspects of conditions in a country that are relevant to common types of asylum claims and/or describe the current humanitarian or security situation in a country. CPINs are compiled from material produced by a range of recognized external information sources (news reports, academic literature, independent research reports, UK Government or other government investigation reports, etc.). These documents also contain the Home Office’s policy on the recommended position to take in relation to various types of complaints, based on available and accepted country information.
Responses to Requests for Information (IR) are prepared to answer specific questions from social workers or other Home Office officials. These concern information that is not covered by the CPINs.
The IAGCI appoints national experts or experienced researchers to assess and report on conflicts of interest contained in the Home Office’s national information products. The IAGCI is requesting a country expert to review the country information contained in the following CPINs on Rwanda, published in May 2022:
Description of work
Country Policy and Briefing Notes aim to provide an accurate, balanced and up-to-date summary of the main sources available regarding conditions in the country covered. The purpose and scope of the reports are clearly defined in an introductory section of the document. Reviewers should assess reports in this context and seek to identify areas where they can be improved. Specifically, the review should include:
- assess the extent to which information from source documents has been appropriately and accurately reflected in CHIN reports
- identify additional sources detailing relevant aspects of current conditions in the country
- note and correct any errors or omissions of specific fact
- make recommendations for general improvements concerning, for example, the structure of the report, its coverage or its overall approach
- ensure that no reference is made to any individual source that could put them at risk
Assessors should follow these specific guidelines:
- the review should focus exclusively on the country of origin information contained in the document, and not pass judgment on the policy guidance provided
- the CPIN should be reviewed in the context of its purpose as stated above. It must take into account the situation in the country until the deadline indicated for the inclusion of information
- when suggesting amendments, rather than “track changes” on the original CPIN, a list of suggested changes should be provided as part of a stand-alone review document, and each report should be reviewed separately. A report template will be provided to reviewers (for reference, please refer to the most recent reviews on the IAGCI webpage for sample templates)
- any suggestions for additional information (or corrections to information in the document) should be referenced to a source document for the Home Office to use (preferably open source). The Home Office may use foreign language source documents, but only if the information is considered essential and is not available in English.
Previous reviews of COI products can be viewed on the ICIBI website.
The selected reviewer will be invited to attend an IAGCI meeting, likely virtual, if not at the office of the Independent Chief Inspector for Borders and Immigration in London, where their review will be considered. This meeting is due to take place in July 2022. Alternate arrangements can be made if attendance is not possible.
Representatives from the Home Office will also attend the meeting to provide responses to comments and recommendations made during the review.
Reviews commissioned by the IAGCI will be published and may be used as source material for future CPIN reports or other Home Office information products.
How to register
Researchers interested in conducting this review should submit:
- a one-page letter demonstrating their expertise in human rights and/or asylum matters relating to Rwanda
- their resume
Payment for this work will be set at £2,000. Expressions of interest should be submitted to [email protected] by the end of Monday 30 May 2022.
Unfortunately, we can only accept expressions of interest from individuals and not from institutions or consulting groups. Successful bids will be notified no later than Wednesday, June 8. Final exams will be due by the end of Friday July 8 and will be discussed at the IAGCI meeting at the end of July 2022.