Monday 25 March 2013

Lin Homer - Not Fit For Purpose

In December 2011 the world awoke to the gobsmacking news that Lin Homer was to become CEO of HMRC. I wrote the following at the time, warning about Homer's track record:
"In 2005 Birmingham was declared to be a "banana republic" by the Election Commission.

For why?

Wholesale electoral fraud in the council elections.

The Election Commission ruled that Labour had been responsible for “massive, systematic and organised postal ballot fraud.”

He then made a few choice remarks about the Chief Returning Officer, also the chief executive of the council.

She had "thrown the rule book out of the window”.

To whom did he refer?

Why none other than Lin Homer.

Labour helped her out by making her head of the UK Borders Agency.

This being the very same UKBA that threw the rule book out of the window and relaxed border controls.

Lin, clearly a career minded woman, moved on from there this summer (just before the shit hit the fan) and became Permanent Secretary at the Department of Transport.

Now she moves to HMRC!
Fast forward to 2013, and we now see that Parliament may finally be waking up to the fact that Homer is not fit for purpose and that her appointment was farcical.

The cause of this "Damascus Moment" is the appalling performance of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), Homer's proud legacy!

The Commons Home Affairs Committee has said today that it was "astounded" when Homer was appointed to run HMRC.

Newsflash: Had they been on the ball in 2011 they would have seen that everyone else was also "astounded" that this walking disaster area was placed in charge of a failing department (HMRC).

The committee expressed “little confidence” in Homer's ability to "lead" HMRC, following “catastrophic” leadership failures in her previous role at the UK Border Agency.

This is all very well, but her failures were well known at the time!

Why the fark was this woman appointed in the first place?

Homer's legacy from the UKBA has been exposed for all the world to see, the UKBA has a backlog of unresolved asylum cases that will take 24 years to clear. The total backlog of unresolved or disputed immigration cases in the UK was 312,726 at the end of September last year, but it is not possible to be sure if that figure was accurate.

The committee have accused the UKBA and Homer of misleading them for the past six years. As per Economia:
"The status quo, in which catastrophic leadership failure is no obstacle to promotion, is totally unacceptable.

We recommend that in future any failures of this nature should have serious consequences for the individual's career.

The whole episode raises serious concerns about the accountability of the most senior civil servant to parliament. It is shocking that after five years under Lin Homer's leadership an organisation that was described at the beginning of the period as not being fit for purpose should have improved its performance so little.

For six years the committee was misled by UKBA chiefs about the agency’s unacceptable performance.

It appears more like the scene of a Whitehall farce than a government agency operating in the 21st century. No sooner is one backlog closed than four more are discovered.”
So that we are all clear as to exactly what the committee thinks of Homer, here is what they said about her as per the BBC:
"Lin Homer, who was in charge of the Agency for much of the period in question, has repeatedly misled the Committee over the size of the asylum backlog and still refuses to take responsibility for her failings.

It is shocking that after five years under Lin Homer's leadership an organisation that was described at the beginning of the period as being 'not fit for purpose' should have improved its performance so little. 

Given this background, we are astounded that Ms Homer has been promoted to become Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and can therefore have little confidence in her ability to lead HMRC at what is a challenging time for that organisation."
I did warn you she was no good, back in 2011!

So, I will repeat my question:

Why the fark was this useless woman appointed in the first place???????

As ever opinions and comments from loyal readers, especially HMRC staff are welcome.

As to the future, will Homer be sacked?

Not yet, the politicians will wait for RTI to fail; as and when that happens she will then be sacked and blamed for that!

A lousy solution, and one that does neither the staff of HMRC nor the taxpayers of the UK any good whatsoever!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. As you have always said Ken, it is the politicians (Labour?) to blame for this fiasco

    and as we have always said, not HMRC staff fault, despite all the chips on all their shoulders

    but who 'corrects' the politicians?

    blogs like this and freedom of speech if there is any left... but who do we blame for that?


  2. From Wikipaedia:
    "Megalomania is a psychopathological disorder characterized by delusional fantasies of power, relevance, or omnipotence. 'Megalomania is characterized by an inflated sense of self-esteem and overestimation by persons of their powers and beliefs"
    Just about sums up HMRC management.

  3. Bit hard on Labour to blame them for her appointment at HMRC, considering it happened 19 months after the Tory - sorry, coalition - government took over!

    How will we know whether RTI fails or not? There are many degrees of failure, ranging from the system completely collapsing and being abandoned (unlikely) through any number of degrees of failure on the part of HMRC to process the data correctly. I have a feeling there will be a lot of pressure on them to keep accepting data even if they're not processing it all, so how will we know the extent of any failure???

  4. Status Quo then?

  5. Ken,

    There seems to be some additional issues associated with Homer from her time with Dept of Transport and a report on rail franchises I believe. A little bit of internet research should unearth it. No time at moment will look later unless you can find the facts.

    That would provide a trail from Birmingham to London that would be electric. LOL!

    1. Thanks, have posted an article about it:)

  6. Anne, my business partner, has always insisted that the only way to be rid of a incompetent person in your department is to make sure they are promoted to another department. Unfortunately this means that the rubbish rises and the truly competent are never promoted because their work efforts are to valuable.

    Seems to fit Lin Homer.

  7. She has this week used the HMRC internal internet site in a thinly veiled effort to defend herself. It should never be used as a political forum but is constantly done so by the Executive Committee. Out of all the damning feedback from staff surveys there has been particular emphasis placed on one question whereby 36% of respondees stated they thought poor performance was handled well. Significant changes are being introduced in the new financial year which is clearly designed to manage people out of jobs. It is not necessarily a bad thing if it is done properly as it would separate the bad from the good, there are certainly too many underperformers earning too much money, however I am cynical when you consider the figurehead is incompetent and seems to be unsackable.

  8. I looked at her CV when she arrived at HMRC. A career dodging bullets by moving on to the next job before the politicians found the bodies. The warming signs were there from the start. It should have been labelled "Queue here for the next Homer Omnishambles".

    When a department starts to feel the heat it changes its name and if that does not do it braks the function into agencies. MAFF became DEFRA after mad cow and foot and mouth. DHSS came from Department of Pensions and Department of Health, then split to DSS and DoH, then DSS became DWP, following the various NI computer disasters renamed the Contributions Agency then finished up with HMRC.

  9. How is it in this country that so few people like her do not fall on their swords any more. How can total incompetence be rewarded like it is?

  10. Bitter personal experience has taught me that hmrc truly is shite. And it's got much much worse under Homer. What can we do about it? Just writing on a blog clearly has no impact on her impervious hide.