Steerpike Steerpike

Home Office afflicted by top talent crisis

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has made ‘stopping the boats’ central to his premiership. So it is, er, sub-optimal then that word reaches Steerpike that the efforts of the Home Office are being hindered by a lack of top talent. The department might have grown in staff numbers by nearly a third since 2010 but Whitehall sources claim that there was only one candidate last year to fill the department’s key role of Director of General Migration and Borders. The role in question was eventually filled by Daniel Hobbs, the department’s head of asylum, protection and enforcement, in August 2023.

A Home Office spokesman told Mr S: 

Dan Hobbs was picked for the role after passing the board for another Director General role and because of his strong track record. The decision was made by Permanent Secretaries and Ministers and follows standard process.

‘Nobody wants to work at the Home Office,’ confided one departmental veteran, who said postings to the ministry are ‘seen as hard labour.’ Those that do work there often only ‘do two years then get a better job.’ According to a Freedom of Information request, ‘there was no advertised campaign for this post, with the appointment being made utilising another posts reserve list’. Such lists are ‘held for up to 12 months for candidates that have been assessed and identified as suitable for filling rolls [sic] at a grade.’

Clearly, inaccurate spelling isn’t a bar to promotion at 2 Marsham Street either…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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