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Rishi sacks Suella as Home Secretary.

(354 Posts)
Urmstongran Mon 13-Nov-23 08:47:23

A wise move? Or will he come to regret it?

growstuff Fri 17-Nov-23 21:35:26

MerylStreep

I have 2 daughters who are working with the Home Office at the present time.
One is the team leader on building the new computer program to speed up the application system.
The other one is doing a visa renewal application.
All I can say is: it’s a miracle that anything is achieved at the Home Office.

Indeed! My daughter is a senior civil service HR manager. I don't think she'd be interested in uninformed posts on GN. Unfortunately, it's all too common for IT contractors to not understand the needs of their clients.

My daughter doesn't talk about her work much because it's classified and she's the ultimate professional. What I do know is that her work is affected and hands are tied by constantly changing directives from government ministers, who regard civil servants as rather stupid lackies rather than the people with the real experience and expertise to know what is feasible and legal.

growstuff Fri 17-Nov-23 21:39:16

ronib

Growstuff getting civil servants to turn up to the office is a start.
The Home Office is not supporting the government in its aims. 2.7 cases solved per week by each caseworker is laughable.
No it’s not about changing the sign on the door but getting a grip on the problem. Doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon? The Home Office needs to be relieved of this function. It can’t go on like this. A different set of people might bring a more proactive approach?

Outsourcing but not to Rwanda seems a good idea.

This is laughable!

I'd love to know who the "different set of people" could be. Maybe those about to be sanctioned by the DWP because they haven't been able to find a job in 18 months?

ronib Fri 17-Nov-23 21:56:01

Growstuff it’s all too common for IT contractors to bang their heads on Civil Service contracts! Fact!
I am amazed that you can’t understand that there’s a problem with the way the Home Office goes about its business.
A bit pointless even discussing it on this thread.

Mamie Sat 18-Nov-23 07:07:42

ronib

Growstuff it’s all too common for IT contractors to bang their heads on Civil Service contracts! Fact!
I am amazed that you can’t understand that there’s a problem with the way the Home Office goes about its business.
A bit pointless even discussing it on this thread.

I would be really interested to know where your evidence comes from ronib. As Growstuff rightly says, Civil Servants particularly at senior level, do not talk about their work and are not in a position to defend themselves. Contractors are unlikely to have significant insight at a broad level. The Home Office is a very large, complex department, with a wide brief.
Unless you have some very significant contacts with very loose tongues then I really can't see how you can make these judgements.

ronib Sat 18-Nov-23 07:29:18

Mamie the evidence is stark - look up the numbers of asylum claims waiting to be processed/settled, 2.7 claims per week per officer are currently settled, length of time taken. The cost of housing asylum seekers is £8 million per day reportedly - if you want hard evidence you can find it.

Without blaming the case workers who sit at the bottom of the pile, what on earth is this country doing? Also at senior level the negotiations with France don’t seem to have reached any agreement. How not to solve a problem.

ronib Sat 18-Nov-23 07:34:03

Mamie also can I point out that IT contractors do know a great deal about the Civil Service as it’s quite likely that they were employed as Civil Servants before turning to consulting/contracting which pays a very good income as compared to peanuts.
Another failure of government is not to pay its technocrats.

Mamie Sat 18-Nov-23 07:49:44

There used to be internal IT support, but much of it has been outsourced for more than 20 years. Apart from senior Comms professionals and data managers you would not find so many above Grade 6.

growstuff Sat 18-Nov-23 07:56:50

ronib

Mamie also can I point out that IT contractors do know a great deal about the Civil Service as it’s quite likely that they were employed as Civil Servants before turning to consulting/contracting which pays a very good income as compared to peanuts.
Another failure of government is not to pay its technocrats.

IT contractors are notorious for not fully understanding the issues they're supposed to be working on. I came across them all too often during my career.

As for my not knowing about the Home Office ...

My daughter was a fast track civil servant, which was relatively rare for a female graduate without an Oxbridge degree. Since her initial recruitment, she's worked in a number of government departments, including the Home Office, and took a year out to work in private industry.

She now works for the National Crime Agency, which you possibly know is a non-ministerial government department, which is operationally independent, but is accountable to Parliament through the Home Secretary. The NCA sometimes works very closely with the Home Office.

I have never discussed operational details of her work with my daughter, although I have an idea of the areas she works on. I know that before she took her break from the civil servant she was frustrated with the way it worked sometimes, but she was quite shocked to discover that the management structures of the well-known private business for which she worked were more chaotic.

I know my daughter well and I know she speaks her mind. She has always scared me with her efficiency and pragmatism and I'd be amazed if she's any different at work. It doesn't seem to have done her any harm because she's had a number of promotions and attempts have been made by outside organisations to headhunt her.

(PS. She goes into her office most days, apart from when she's visiting other organisations.)

In any organisation the size of the civil service with numerous aims and objectives and staff at all different levels, it would be amazing if there weren't scope for improvement. Nevertheless, it's truly amazing that so many people with very little idea of its operational systems are prepared to rubbish it.

MerylStreep Sat 18-Nov-23 08:03:07

ronib
Give up 😂
You would have more success convincing people how bad it is with digging a hole in the North Sea.

ronib Sat 18-Nov-23 08:11:20

Growstuff I have no doubt that your daughter is a real credit to you but we’re talking about the dismal performance of the government and the Home Office.

I believe that your daughter does not support the current system for processing asylum seekers, the length of time taken, etc. I don’t understand how anyone could. It’s a broken system and needs fixing. I am not blaming your daughter btw.

ronib Sat 18-Nov-23 08:13:41

MerylStreep I am ill- it isn’t helping. I shall die quietly …..

Mamie Sat 18-Nov-23 08:18:55

ronib

Mamie the evidence is stark - look up the numbers of asylum claims waiting to be processed/settled, 2.7 claims per week per officer are currently settled, length of time taken. The cost of housing asylum seekers is £8 million per day reportedly - if you want hard evidence you can find it.

Without blaming the case workers who sit at the bottom of the pile, what on earth is this country doing? Also at senior level the negotiations with France don’t seem to have reached any agreement. How not to solve a problem.

The evidence is indeed stark, but you are blaming the wrong people. The Civil Service is there to implement government policy. Whilst senior officials can advise, civil servants can still only work within the instruction and resources that they are given.
Government policy on immigration is quixotic and ill-thought through, sometimes illegal, money is spent on impractical vanity projects to win votes from the right-wing and performative cruelty is the name of the game.
France has offered countless times to set up joint processing centres near Calais. If the British Government isn't willing to do that, why would you blame the Civil Service?

growstuff Sat 18-Nov-23 08:21:08

ronib

Mamie the evidence is stark - look up the numbers of asylum claims waiting to be processed/settled, 2.7 claims per week per officer are currently settled, length of time taken. The cost of housing asylum seekers is £8 million per day reportedly - if you want hard evidence you can find it.

Without blaming the case workers who sit at the bottom of the pile, what on earth is this country doing? Also at senior level the negotiations with France don’t seem to have reached any agreement. How not to solve a problem.

If you've read the link, you'll know. The government keeps changing directives and slashing operational budgets.

There have been two big changes this year. Firstly, most asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Sudan undergo a "light touch" application process, as 98/99% of applications succeed anyway. Unfortunately, it was introduced on the cheap. Many asylum seekers from those countries don't know about it and aren't given language support to complete the applications. Their applications are, therefore, taking longer to process and they aren't given much help when they are give a visa.

Secondly, since the UK left the EU, the Dublin III Agreement no longer applies and the UK can't just return asylum seekers to the last "safe" country. The UK no longer has any agreement in place and most of the "safe" countries don't want the people anyway. So the Home Office caseworkers know that asylum seekers have come through safe countries, but their hands are tied because the countries won't take them. The asylum seekers are between a rock and a number of hard places. The UK won't proceed with their applications, under international law they can't be returned to their original countries if their lives would be in danger, which is the case for many (and the caseworkers know it), but no other country wants them either. Even if they had been sent to Rwanda, the deal was a "swap" and the UK would have had to take people Rwanda doesn't want.

growstuff Sat 18-Nov-23 08:22:01

Well said Mamie.

ronib Sat 18-Nov-23 08:37:09

Mamie Government ministers are not involved in the day to day operations surrounding the processing of asylum applications. That’s the work of the Home Office.

I think we both agree that this is an extremely cruel situation and is in need of reform.
I don’t know why there’s so little cooperation between the Uk and France and am too poorly to care….. at the moment.

Callistemon21 Sat 18-Nov-23 09:56:58

When civil servants receive one directive after another from a government which keeps changing its mind as often as it changes its Ministers, on large as well as small issues, then it is difficult to work with any consistency.
People talk about 'bureaucratic' civil servants but they do have to follow changes in Government policy which inevitably slows up output.

growstuff Sat 18-Nov-23 13:32:30

Callistemon21

When civil servants receive one directive after another from a government which keeps changing its mind as often as it changes its Ministers, on large as well as small issues, then it is difficult to work with any consistency.
People talk about 'bureaucratic' civil servants but they do have to follow changes in Government policy which inevitably slows up output.

I wonder what people would think if the country had "unbureaucratic! civil servants who just did what they wanted, depending whether they liked the look of somebody's face, whether it was a full moon that day or they were just feeling grumpy.

I really don't understand people who think government ministers aren't responsible for the actions of the civil service.

growstuff Sat 18-Nov-23 13:33:27

ronib

Mamie Government ministers are not involved in the day to day operations surrounding the processing of asylum applications. That’s the work of the Home Office.

I think we both agree that this is an extremely cruel situation and is in need of reform.
I don’t know why there’s so little cooperation between the Uk and France and am too poorly to care….. at the moment.

No, but the Home Office do their best to carry out the directives (some of which are just plain daft) issued by the Home Office.

Callistemon21 Sat 18-Nov-23 16:37:52

growstuff

ronib

Mamie Government ministers are not involved in the day to day operations surrounding the processing of asylum applications. That’s the work of the Home Office.

I think we both agree that this is an extremely cruel situation and is in need of reform.
I don’t know why there’s so little cooperation between the Uk and France and am too poorly to care….. at the moment.

No, but the Home Office do their best to carry out the directives (some of which are just plain daft) issued by the Home Office.

No matter the colour of the government at the time!
And whether or not it might be damaging to the staff in their departments.

MerylStreep Sat 18-Nov-23 17:26:05

Callistemon21

When civil servants receive one directive after another from a government which keeps changing its mind as often as it changes its Ministers, on large as well as small issues, then it is difficult to work with any consistency.
People talk about 'bureaucratic' civil servants but they do have to follow changes in Government policy which inevitably slows up output.

It’s even worse for the outside company dealing with a customer who doesn’t know exactly what they want and then ideas are presented to them are told let me get back to you on that and then that goes through how many departments to get an ok.

ronib Sun 19-Nov-23 12:11:54

I have just checked out the application process for joining the Civil Service as an executive officer handling asylum claims. There are currently no vacancies.
Faced with a backlog of many thousands, I am not confident that this problem will be sorted anytime soon.
I am still very puzzled. Obviously a management decision.

Casdon Sun 19-Nov-23 12:21:09

ronib

I have just checked out the application process for joining the Civil Service as an executive officer handling asylum claims. There are currently no vacancies.
Faced with a backlog of many thousands, I am not confident that this problem will be sorted anytime soon.
I am still very puzzled. Obviously a management decision.

No ronib. A government decision.

‘Jeremy Hunt has announced a freeze on civil service recruitment in a bid to cut the size of Whitehall down to pre-pandemic levels. In a speech to the Conservative party conference in Manchester the chancellor said he wanted to reduce the number of officials working in government by 66,000, saving £1 billion a year.’
2 Oct 2023
www.thetimes.co.uk › article

ronib Sun 19-Nov-23 13:58:48

Casdon a drop from 488,000 civil servants to still over 422,000 doesn’t sound unreasonable on paper.
The number of executive officers employed as asylum seeker caseworkers is a drop in the ocean. It’s a management decision - Jeremy Hunt is not proscribing the individual headcount for each government department just cutting the budget.

Casdon Sun 19-Nov-23 14:40:42

You’re changing the question now ronib. You asked, I replied as to why there were no posts advertised. It is not a management decision, it is unequivocally a government decision to do this or it wouldn’t have been announced in the budget. If the government want to decimate other departments still further to make other services more dysfunctional and bail out the Home Office they will no doubt do so. Let’s not kid ourselves that the Civil Service are responsible for this sh..show.

MaizieD Sun 19-Nov-23 15:10:19

If the government want to decimate other departments still further to make other services more dysfunctional and bail out the Home Office they will no doubt do so.

A contributory factor was no doubt the fact that civil servants were taken from their normal roles to deal with Brexit. This started in 2017 at least with the setting up of the DExEU. It's clear from the Covid Inquiry that this put them on the back foot for dealing with a national crisis. I doubt that the Home Office was excepted...