Date Published: 22.02.2023
Status: Current
Type: Residence / Equal Treatment
Outcome: No further action

Home Office Settlement Resolution Centre

Summary of information

The IMA received multiple complaints from EU citizens regarding the performance of the Home Office Settlement Resolution Centre (SRC), a service set up to provide information and help to citizens and advisers with regard to EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) applications.

Three main themes were identified:

  1. Experience of long wait times and inability to access the call queue
  2. Receiving unhelpful information
  3. Delayed responses to emails or no response

Summary of Actions and Evidence 

The IMA has collected information regarding the performance of the SRC in response to complaints and conducted a Call for Evidence.  The IMA has engaged with the Home Office and requested information on their telephony software, along with SRC performance management statistics for the period from March 2021 to September 2021.

From the information received from the Home Office, the IMA determines that the SRC experienced a difficult period around the 30 June 2021 deadline for submission of EUSS applications by those resident in the UK by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.  The SRC experienced significant demand during that period which led to some citizens being unable to access the call queue or speak to an agent.

In response, the Home Office took steps to reduce call wait times using self-service messages with their Interactive Voice Recognition system, diverted resource from other government telephony services and signposted callers to for further advice.  These additional measures assisted citizens with information on the progress of their EUSS application and helped reduce the volume of contact with the SRC.

While the Call for Evidence provides confirmation that citizens had difficulty in this period contacting a SRC agent and having their issue resolved, there is no clear evidence that citizens’ rights were breached or impacted as a result of SRC performance.

Based on the evidence received from complaints, and information received from the Home Office, the IMA’s opinion is that reported issues coincided with very high demand in the run-up to and following the 30 June 2021 deadline.

Summary of Decision 

The IMA has determined that it does not currently have reasonable grounds to believe that an inquiry into this issue may identify general or systemic failings in the implementation or application of Part II of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Given the role of the SRC in assisting EUSS applicants, we will continue to gather evidence in respect of the SRC.

Does this issue affect you?

The complaints submitted to us help build a picture of where there are common, wide-reaching, or systemic issues with how UK public bodies are implementing the Withdrawal Agreement(s) for EU and EEA EFTA citizens’ rights.