HC Deb 17 July 1980 vol 988 cc657-9W
Mr. Arthur Davidson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will list the organisations, bodies and individuals outside his Department who have access to information in the Home Office data bank computer; and under what authority such access is given

(2) what action has been taken as a result of the Home Office data bank's processing of embarkation and landing cards;

(3) if he will publish the specification of the Home Office data bank computer; and state whether it has a full text retrieval system;

(4) if he will state the initial capital cost and annual running costs of the Home Office data bank computer;

(5) what are the purposes of the Home Office data hank on immigration and emigration; when it came into operation earlier in the current year; how many individuals are covered by this system; and what is its future capacity;

(6) if he will state the scope of the information about individuals which is stored in his Department's data bank.

Mr. Whitelaw

The manual arrangements for pairing landing and,embarkation cards completed by passengers subject to immigration control are being replaced by a computer system from 1 August, preliminary running for which commenced on 1 May. The purpose remains to indicate when an individual has remained here after the expiry of his permitted stay so that inquiries can be made, but the computer should provide such information more promptly, accurately and economically. The system will initially handle about ½ million arrivals and departures annually and could be expanded if necessary.

The record for an individual comprises identifying particulars together with the conditions of stay, including the time limit, imposed on him on arrival, and any subsequent variation of these conditions.

No text retrieval system is required for this operation and processing is by a standard computer. The total cost of additional equipment was about £140,000 and running costs are estimated at a further £140,000 annually.

Direct access to the computer record is limited to staff of the immigration and nationality department.