Sweeping Home Office Reforms Introduced

Home Secretary John Reid today announced a wide-ranging reform programme designed to fundamentally change the Home Office. The radical reform plan will transform the Home Office, saving as much as £115m per year by 2010, reducing the size of the Home Office’s headquarters through an unprecedented move of staff from the centre out into communities, and following through with extensive changes and increased accountability at all levels.

Home Secretary John Reid said the ambitious plan would ensure that the department is better able to deliver quality services to the public. ‘This will not be an easy task,’ he warned. ‘This is the start of a long-term programme of reform that will require consistency, commitment and endurance.’

Still, he said, he was resolute on the need for wide-ranging reform. ‘I am determined to create a Home Office in which the public can have confidence.’

The need for such change is highlighted in the capability review released today by the Cabinet Office. It provides a thorough assessment of the Home Office’s weaknesses, and its findings are reflected in many aspects of the reform plan, which seeks to address those flaws and improve performance across the board.
Fundamental change is needed

In the reform action plan,  ‘From Improvement to Transformation’, the Home Secretary sets out his vision of a transformed Home Office fully equipped to deal with the challenges now facing the nation.

When the action plan is fulfilled, the reformed Home Office will:

  • define public protection as its core purpose
  • have a stronger leadership team and board of directors, and a reshaped structure
  • have a transformed culture, improved skills, more efficient systems
  • provide trustworthy data

Key aspects of the plan

One of the major items included in the reform plan affect the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, which has faced growing criticism for failing to deal with the country’s complex immigration issues. In order to help the IND improve its effectiveness, it will become a shadow agency by 2007.

Some other the key aspects of the reform plan include:

  • creating a new top team with better leadership skills – all directors will have their skills assessed, and any gaps will be addressed quickly
  • reducing the size of the Home  Office headquarters, devolving more responsibilities to the front line.
  • focusing on attracting highly skilled staff
  • insuring that all information and data compiled and released is strictly accurate

The plan goes into immediate effect, and changes will begin to happen today.