New borders and immigration enforcement chief to oversee conclusion of £400m digital rollout

Written by Beckie Smith on 15 July 2021 in News
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The Home Office is recruiting a director general for a newly merged post, a key responsibility of which will be overseeing the final stages of its troubled digital borders scheme

Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Archive/PA Images

The Home Office is combining its Border Force and immigration enforcement commands and seeking an "engaging and collaborative leader" to head up the new organisation, as part of an overhaul of operations.

The department is offering up to £149,000 for the new director general of Border Force and enforcement, who will replace two separate posts.

The two divisions will remain separate on the front line, but major planning and support functions will be combined into a single corporate organisation – making it the second largest law enforcement entity in the UK, after the Metropolitan Police Service.

Paul Lincoln, the current head of Border Force and Tyson Hepple, who heads up immigration enforcement, are leaving.

In their stead, the new DG will oversee a staff of 15,000, a budget of £1.28bn and an operational fleet comprising five maritime cutters and six coastal patrol vessels.


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A key part of the will be leading the department’s Digital Services at the Border programme which, since its launch in 2014, has seen costs nearly double as the conclusion date has been pushed back by three years. Work is now due to be completed by March 2022, at a cumulative cost of £372m – compared with an original budget of £199m.

The new border and immigration chief will also be accountable for the operational aspects of legitimate arrivals at the UK border, as well as preventing clandestine entry to the country. The successful candidate will head up the inland immigration enforcement teams, which include uniformed staff and criminal and financial investigators; and oversee the immigration detention estate.

The successful candidate must have experience leading a large-scale organisational change programme, including leading major tech programmes, and “strong strategic skills for the new capability, alongside an ability to see the big picture and design and articulate a clear vision in a fluid, political and complicated environment”.

They must also be able to work in a “politically complex landscape”, building relationships – and influencing the opinions of – ministers and other politicians

The changes overseen by the appointee are happening under the One Home Office transformation programme, which began in April.

“The One Home Office transformation programme seeks to equip the department for the future, help us to move on from Covid, respond to Windrush and ensure we are well placed to capitalise on the opportunities of EU exit. All of our work will be underpinned by our new Home Office values: respectful, courageous, compassionate and collaborative,” the department’s permanent secretary, Matthew Rycroft, told MPs on the Public Accounts Committee in a letter.

To achieve this, its goals include establishing “clearer roles and responsibilities for all teams” and creating “more integrated teams”, he added.

Applications for the Border Force and enforcement role, which comes with a salary of between £130,000 and £149,000, close on 8 August.

 

About the author

Beckie Smith is a reporter for PublicTechnology sister publication Civil Service World, where a version of this story first appeared. She tweets as @beckie__smith.

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