Directing & Managing

Beyond the pioneers / developers of the Hostile Environment (detailed on the Developers page of this website), at continuing direction and management level, there are various upper management to executive, to middle management, to ultimately frontline officers & employees responsible across the Hostile Environment implementation agencies, departments and for-profit businesses.

The excerpts below from a Guardian newspaper article give context so well to the directing & managing aspect of the Hostile Environment:  “We have exceeded our target of assisted returns …’ “Typically these will be our most vulnerable returnees”

The above quotes, included in the leaked memo below graphically illustrate the enthusiasm of those directing and managing the Hostile Environment: it is impossible not to see parallels with their, in their own words, expressed attitudes, with the doctrine and practice of ethnic cleansing – in this case soft/vulnerable targets and specific unstated target population groups. The families of Gurkhas, Windrush generation victims, LGBTs.


Important/significant parts of the memo have been highlighted in italics, with three having comment notes at the end. 

… The leaked memo, dated 21 June 2017, was a “summary of performance” prepared by Immigration Enforcement, which is responsible for tracking down and deporting immigration offenders. …

… The summary then moves on to “assisted returns”, cases where, for instance, someone has left the country voluntarily on a flight paid for by the British government.

“Typically these will be our most vulnerable returnees*,” the memo says. “We have exceeded our target of assisted returns. We set an internal target of 1,250 of these returns for 2016-17 … we delivered 1,581.”

At the bottom of the memo is a list of all those who received copies of the findings. The home secretary, permanent secretary, second permanent secretary and special advisers are the first to be named.  

Sources told the Guardian the briefing was one of several to have been circulated in the Home Office in recent months outlining the target culture.

They said ministers had supported the extra effort being put into two specific programmes to help the department meet its targets: Operation Perceptor and Operation Gopik. The former involves arresting and deporting people on the same day, the latter targets EU nationals who have three criminal convictions.

“These programmes are being run by civil servants**, but the policies are being driven by politicians,” the Home Office source said. …

Operation Perceptor is understood to be increasingly important. It targets people who are easier to arrest and deport, because most “same day” removals are of individuals with no family ties to the UK.

“The main risk is that these people may not know their rights and won’t be able to challenge what is happening,” the source said.

The memo underlines the importance of the hostile environment, which the Home Office has rebranded the “compliant environment”.

It says: “We move closer to the creation of a truly compliant environment with every passing year and have begun to pick up some, as yet anecdotal, evidence suggesting new powers and interventions are influencing behaviours both in terms of encouraging upstream compliance *** and encouraging voluntary departures.”

The briefing outlines measures being taken to identify the NHS trusts in England and Wales where people in the country illegally might try to receive treatment.

“Over the past 12 months we have undertaken an intense programme of activity with the top 20 ‘highest risk’ trusts to improve their ability to identify chargeable patients. Our Local Partnership managers visited trusts to support frontline NHS staff to establish robust immigration status checking systems.



* Re ‘most vulnerable returnees’ clearly refers to the following (meaning ‘vulnerable’ translates as ‘soft targets’) ‘…It targets people who are easier to arrest and deport, because most “same day” removals are of individuals with no family ties to the UK.

** Indicates the structured nature of the directing & managing dimension of Hostile Environment implementation, through programmes such as ‘operations’ (such as Operation Vathek – the Go Home Vans initiative – as well Operation Perceptor and Operation Gopik, etc.)

*** ‘Upstream Compliance’ can logically be assumed to refer to public service organisations at executive organisation/service directing level complying with Hostile Environment supporting compliance.   ‘Compliance’ is clearly not a matter only for genuine and non-genuine UKVI service users quitting or being forced to leave the UK, but for heads of public service organisations (police, NHS, etc.) to tow a line

More about directing & managing the Hostile Environment:

Beyond the Developer (strategic planning pioneers and executive level guarantors) level, the operational level directing and management dimension (backed up at the executive, Hostile Environment developer, Cabinet Permanent Secretary, Home Office Permanent Secretary and President of the Immigration Tribunal level) of the Hostile Environment, is of course the frontline for the latter’s implementers. 

In regard to directing & managing (and protecting) of the Hostile environment, the leads (chief operating officers, director and deputy directors, in particular) unlike their seniors/executive authority leads at Hostile environment ‘Developer/Pioneer/Guarantor’ level are a little closer to public and experts, and, sometimes, albeit too rarely, effective politicians, including government minister level, scrutiny on the many incidents (and often demining statistics) that almost daily are revealed about Hostile environment abuses of process and power. 

The ‘frontline’ for these operational level leads of the Hostile Environment is not so much extreme public opinion disapproval and the perils of effective investigative journalism (they are isolated/protected from these, and almost invulnerable to same as key documents such as Operating Mandates are the tool of unnamed Home Office spokespersons statements, give some shielding), but, rather being held to account by government ministers and select committees, for often appalling revelations about Hostile environment delivery at the direct lower level frontline. 

They can count on an exceptional advantage (compared to government ministers – as Amber Rudd and others have discovered – and MPs, and of course anti-Hostile Environment campaigners and researchers).

Such conduct is made possible by those involve being enabled because of their far from the public eye – including MPs and government ministers – ability to liaise swiftly and in detail at executive and operational lead levels across government departments, ministries, and agencies, as leaked memos of the kind that led to Amber Rudd’s resignation, demonstrate.

In addition, there can be little doubt that the 2016 Investigatory Powers Act of Parliament, has given those in Hostile Environment implementation contexts great abilities to through their labyrinthine cross agencies and government departments networks and communication channels, the ability to de-facto bully and to cover up abuses of power and/or process.  In contrast, directing & managing Hostile Environment strategic leads, are vulnerable to immigration services (commonly Home Office context) ‘whistle-blowers’ and judicious Freedom of Information Act requested.

The stock response to embarrassing inhumane revelations about the Hostile Environment in action, at lead directing and managing levels are routinely dealt with by unnamed Home Office [in the main] ‘officials’ (whose official title/post are also withheld) putting out vacuous and almost always extremely disingenuous statements to the media and in letters to MPs and those involved in highlighting or supporting highlighting of gross miscarriages of justice, and inhuman treatment of victims of the Hostile Environment. 

In other words, those who direct and manage the Hostile Environment remain purposely and ignobly in the shadows so that the consequences of their orders aren’t linked to themselves: instead they hide behind nameless spokespersons.  However sometimes the mask unintentionally slips, such as when the UKVI Chief Operating Officer writes to an MP and de-facto slanders a UKVI service user as an ‘overstayer’ knowing very well, on the basis of incontrovertible evidence, this to be entirely untrue.

These statements assert the following of best practice and professional standards, and relevant UK laws: as with many Immigration Tribunal decision and reasons documents, and ministerial policy position statements, they avoid providing substantial to any, evidence in support of the statements put out.  A practice common in tyrannies and autocracies, but unpalatable in a mature parliamentary democracy such as the United Kingdom.