A broken home

Think tank: Adam Smith Institute

Author(s): Henry Hill

October 27, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at why it’s time to split up the Home Office.

The Adam Smith Institute’s latest paper, written by Henry Hill, argues that we should split the Home Office into two new, more focused Departments: Immigration and Security. The Home Office has presided over numerous policy failures, and shows no sign of improving; The principal problem is that the Department’s remit is too wide, and the political team at the top is not scaled to the size of the tasks confronting it; The Ministry of Justice has a similar number of political staff, despite the much smaller Whitehall operation they need to oversee; The broad direction of reform should concentrate on splitting up the existing empire into two more manageable departments: Immigration and Security; The chief advantage would not be that it would automatically produce any particular change in policy, but it would roughly double the team of ministers and advisors, who would be assigned a narrower and more coherent portfolio of responsibilities; A dedicated Secretary of State for Security (the ongoing Home Secretary) could focus on reforming the police and improving the security services, whilst an Immigration Secretary could focus on issues such as small boats whilst also having the bandwidth to address other operational issues with real quality-of-life implications, such as the backlog at the Passport Office; Rishi Sunak’s Ten-Point Plan for Immigration concluded with “Commissioning work to look at more fundamental Home Office and Border Force reform.” This would be a good place to start.