Sham marriages

Mae'r ymateb i'r cais hwn yn hwyr iawn. Yn ôl y gyfraith, ym mhob amgylchiad, dylai Home Office fod wedi ymateb erbyn hyn. (manylion). Gallwch gwyno drwy yn gofyn am adolygiad mewnol.

Dear Home Office,

The Marriage Referral Assessment Unit (MRAU) uses a triage model to manage marriage notifications.

Please provide the following information in relation to the triage model:

(1) If the triage model flags a marriage notification as 'red', does the MRAU always initiate an investigation into the couple and extend their notice period? Put another way, does the MRAU ever review a red notification and decide that no investigation should take place?

(2) Was the triage model developed using historical data? If so, how was this data obtained, and what time period and populations does it cover?

Please also provide copies of the following documents in relation to the triage model:

(3) Copies of any reviews or evaluations of the triage model by the 'Data Science and Analytics' team within the Home Office

(4) Copies of any reviews or evaluations of the triage model by the 'Analytical Quality Assurance Board' within the Home Office

Yours faithfully,

Jack Maxwell

FOI Requests, Home Office

Thank you for contacting the Home Office  Freedom of Information Requests
Mailbox.

This is to acknowledge  receipt of your email.

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FOI Requests, Home Office

Dear Jack Maxwell,

Thank you for contacting the Home Office with your request.

This has been assigned to a caseworker (case ref 62203). We will aim to send you a full response by 17/02/2021 which is twenty working days from the date we received your request.

Regards

N McKenzie
Home Office

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IE PQs, FOIs and Correspondence, Home Office

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Maxwell,

Please find attached a response to your recent Freedom of Information Act
enquiry.

 

Kind regards

 

Home Office

Immigration Enforcement Secretariat.

Freedom of Information & Parliamentary Questions Team

Sandford House

West Midlands

 

 

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Dear Home Office,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Home Office's handling of my FOI request 'Sham marriages'.

First, in response to my request for copies of any reviews or evaluations of the triage model by the Data Science and Analytics team (DSA) within the Home Office, the Home Office responded that there are 'no such reviews or evaluations'. However, this appears to be contradicted by the Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) for the model (disclosed here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/7...). Page 1 of the EIA states that the system uses a tool built by DSA, while page 12 states that 'DSA have reviewed the outcomes of the triage process for the first seven months of its operation' and '[a]n average of 75% of those ntoices to marry that failed the triage process and were extended were deemed to be sham marriages following the ICE investigations'. This indicates that DSA built and evaluated the system. It is implausible that they produced no reviews or evaluations of it in the course of those tasks.

Second, in response to my request for copies of any reviews or evaluations of the triage model by the Analytical Quality Assurance Board within the Home Office, the Home Office refused to disclose the documents based on the exemptions under ss 31(a) and (e) of the FOIA (prevention or detection of crime and operation of immigration controls). There are at least two problems with this response. The first is that the Home Office's reasons do not justify its response. The stated reasons in favour of maintaining the exemption are:

"It is in the public interest to ensure that the publication of official information is a properly assessed and sources are protected. The Home Office must ensure that the information intended for publication meets the standards and requirements set for departmental publications. It would not be in the public interest for the Home Office to release this information."

This does not identify the claimed prejudice to the prevention or detection of crime or the operation of immigration controls. Nor does it establish any causal link between the disclosure and the harm claim. Nor does it state or provide any grounds for an estimate of the likelihood of any such harm occurring. The response is clearly defective.

The second problem is that the exemption does not justify withholding the documents altogether. At most, it might justify limited redactions to the extent strictly necessary to prevent people from circumventing the model's operation. But significant information about the quality assurance process (e.g. how the model was developed, the data used, the risk factors used, testing of its performance and bias) could readily be disclosed without risking circumvention or abuse.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

Yours faithfully,

Jack Maxwell

FOI Requests, Home Office

Thank you for contacting the Home Office  Freedom of Information Requests
Mailbox.

This is to acknowledge  receipt of your email.

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FOI Requests, Home Office

Mr Maxwell,

Thank you for contacting the Home Office with your request for an Internal Review of FoI case ref 62203 .

This has been assigned to a caseworker who will aim to send you a full response by 26/03/2021 which is twenty working days from the date we received your request.

If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you,

P. Zebedee
FOI Requests
Home Office

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Dear FOI Requests,

Could you please confirm when you will provide a substantive response to my request for internal review?

Yours sincerely,

Jack Maxwell

FOI Requests, Home Office

Thank you for contacting the Home Office  Freedom of Information Requests
Mailbox.

This is to acknowledge  receipt of your email.

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FOI Requests, Home Office

Dear Mr Maxwell,

Thank you for contacting the Home Office. I have forward your email to the case officer dealing with your internal review case for their attention.

Regards

N McKenzie
Home Office

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Dear FOI Requests,

Could you please confirm when you will be determining my request for internal review?

Yours sincerely,

Jack Maxwell

FOI Requests, Home Office

Thank you for contacting the Home Office  Freedom of Information Requests
Mailbox.

This is to acknowledge  receipt of your email.

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FOI Requests, Home Office

Dear Mr Maxwell,

Thank you for contacting the Home Office. The case officer dealing with your internal review case will notify you as soon as possible. I have again forward your email for their attention.

Regards

N McKenzie
Home Office

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FOI Responses, Home Office

Dear Mr Maxwell

 

Thank you for you e-mail of 10^th May 2021.

 

The Home Office aims to reply to requests for an internal review within 20
days, or exceptionally 40 days for complex cases. Unfortunately, this is
not always possible.

 

I apologise for the delay in handling your request for an internal review,
but I can confirm the request is being treated urgently, and I hope to be
in a position to send you a substantive response as  soon as possible.

 

Kind regards

 

 

 

A.Tomkins

Information Rights Team

Knowledge and Information Management Unit

Home Office | 2 Marsham Street | London SW1P 4DF

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