FDA welcomes MPs’ report on UK Border Controls

Embargoed until 00.01 on Thursday 19 January 2012

FDA welcomes MPs' report on UK Border Controls

The former head of the UK Border Force, Brodie Clark, and the FDA, the trade union representing him, today welcomed the publication of the Home Affairs Committee's report, UK Border Controls.

Paul Whiteman, FDA national official, said:

"The report finds that Mr Clark was open with his bosses, senior colleagues and the independent inspector about what was going on. The report confirms that Mr Clark raised the issue of suspending secure ID at a full meeting of the UK Border Agency Board and he met no objections from his boss or senior colleagues. The Committee is very critical of the action of Mr Clark's former boss who knew about the suspension of secure ID.

"The report strongly implies, and it would be the conclusion of any reasonable observer, that if the actions of Mr Clark were so widely known about and at such a senior level, he was entitled to believe that colleagues and ministers were content with his actions. This would have come out internally had Mr Clark been given his right to a fair hearing before his very public and unfair castigation.

"Mr Clark is pleased that the Committee has so warmly endorsed the risk-based approach to securing the border that he had initiated."

Commenting on the wider concerns of the Committee, Paul Whiteman said:

"It is clear that the Committee is concerned that the UKBA structure requires root-and-branch reform. If that is the case, any responsibility Mr Clark bears is held jointly with former colleagues. To have been singled out and scapegoated for an approach properly discussed at board level, and accepted by his boss and colleagues, can only have been for political convenience or the narrow self-protection of others.

"It is very surprising that the Home Office continues to withhold documents from the Committee, preventing it from making the full findings that support Mr Clark's position. We wonder if a similar approach will be adopted with the Employment Tribunal now that Mr Clark's case for constructive dismissal has been lodged with it."

Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union and professional body representing 18,000 of the UK's senior civil and public servants. Our members include policy advisors, senior managers, tax inspectors, economists, statisticians, accountants, special advisers, government lawyers, diplomats, crown prosecutors and NHS managers.

2. Members in HMRC are represented by the Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC), a section of the FDA.

3. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

4. This press release is issued in accordance with the embargo set by the Home Affairs Committee.

Mr Clark is not available for comment.

For further information after the embargo contact:

  • Jonathan Baume, FDA General Secretary, tel: 020 7401 5555.
  • Paul Whiteman, FDA National Officer, tel: 020 7401 5555.
  • Oliver Rowe, Communications Manager, tel: 020 7401 5588.