Inquiring about the Oakington IMB

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007. 8:04pm

Dear Penny Lambert (IMB Chair, Oakington IMB),

Having recently written to the IMB secretariat I understand that you currently have a vacancy on Oakington’s IMB. Could you please let me know if you are currently actively trying to fill this vacancy. The IMB secretariat has written to me saying: “Recruitment is carried out at a local level.” I would be interested in finding out exactly what this means. If you are seeking a new member I would like you to send me an application form.

I have twice requested an application pack from the IMB secretariat, the first time on 10th June 2005 and again on 11th October 2007. The first time I got a reply suggesting I could not apply to Oakingtion (presumably as it was due to close yet over two years later it is sill open) and the second time I did not get a reply. As I had not received a reply I wrote to Steve Kilbey, the Information Access Representative asking if Oakington’s IMB was functioning, if there were vacancies and when the last appointments were made. These questions were answered and have prompted my letter to you.

I am concerned that the IMB secretariat is not operating effectively:

  • My experience suggests it is not effectively dealing with requests for application forms.
  • Oakington’s 2005 report was made available to the local press in May 2006, yet not published on the IMB website until January 2007. Their excuse of : “technical difficulties with updating our website in recent months and are therefore unable to put it on our website at present;” was literally incredible as 2006 reports from other institutions were placed online in the period during which Oakington’s was unavailable.
  • It is hard to get answers to simple questions about Oakington’s Immigration Centre. On the 5th of October a local councillor, Alex Riley, speaking about the suggestion foreign national prisoners were being kept at the centre was reported in the Cambridge Evening News as saying: “There is nothing we would like better than to have that idea roundly scotched by the Home Office, but they are totally refusing to communicate with us. It is a disgrace.” This appears to be a systemic problem which I have experienced myself.

Finally could I suggest you let the IMB secretariat pass requests on to you by email, or make yourself contactable electronically by some other means, I think this would make you far more accessible?

Yours sincerely,

Richard Taylor.

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