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Is the Home Office fit for purpose?

With Suella Braverman’s appointment as the fifth home secretary since the start of 2016, how well is the Home Office actually functioning?

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It is 15 years since former home secretary John Reid reportedly described the Home Office as ‘not fit for purpose”. So what is the verdict in 2022?

Just four years ago the Windrush scandal exposed systemic problems in the Home Office’s handling of immigration and citizenship, the way policies were made and the culture of the department. And since then the Home Office has continued to make headlines – and not always in a good way. Recent years have seen the department implement a new immigration system following the UK’s departure from the EU, respond to scandals over police competence and culture, fall out with the Mayor of London over the leadership of the Met Police and, more recently, spark a fierce debate over its plans to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda.

So, with Suella Braverman’s appointment as the fifth home secretary since the start of 2016, how well is the Home Office actually functioning? Does it have a coherent set of responsibilities or is it time to create a separate department for immigration? Has the split of homeland security and justice – with the 2007 creation of the Ministry of Justice – been a success? And what progress has been made since the Windrush scandal?

To discuss all this we were joined by:

  • Samuel Coates, Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and former Special Advisor (Policy) at the Home Office
  • Amelia Gentleman, reporter at the Guardian and author of the Windrush Betrayal
  • Sir Philip Rutnam, former Permanent Secretary of the Home Office
  • Enver Solomon, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council

This event was chaired by Jill Rutter, senior fellow at the Institute for Government.

Get involved and join the conversation using the hashtag #IfGHomeOffice

Position
Home secretary
Department
Home Office
Publisher
Institute for Government

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