Memorandum submitted by the Home Office
1. Reporting Arrangements for the new
Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism (including whether there
will be an annual report). (Question 22.)
The new Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism
will have, as its head, a Director General who will report directly
to the Permanent Secretary. In addition and as announced on March
29, the Prime Minister has agreed to establish a new Ministerial
Committee on Security and Terrorism, subsuming the current Defence
and Overseas Policy (International Terrorism) Committee and the
counter-radicalisation aspects of the Domestic Affairs Committee's
work. The Prime Minister will chair the committee, with the Home
Secretary normally acting as deputy chair, although other ministers
such as the Foreign Secretary, and the Secretary of State for
Communities and Local Government, will deputise as appropriate.
It will be supported by a sub-committee focusing on counter-radicalisation,
which will be chaired by the Secretary of State for Communities
and Local Government. The Committee will meet regularly, and will
be supported by a more frequent weeking meeting focusing on the
threat to the UK, chaired by the Home Secretary; and in order
to support the Home Secretary in his new role, to establish an
Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, based in the Home Office
and reporting to the Home Secretary. The Office for Security and
Counter-Terrorism will take on overall responsibility for the
CONTEST strategy, reporting through the new Ministerial Committee.
The OSCT will also report, as with all other strategic parts of
the Home Office, through the annual departmental report.
2. A paper for the committee in three
months' time giving a detailed account of how the Machinery of
Government changes have been implementedto include some
extra information promised by the Permanent Secretary about cross-departmental,
as well as internal, working arrangements. (Question 54.)
A paper will be provided prior to the summer
recess but, as an aid, attached are three documents which outline
the working protocol between the Home Office and the Ministry
of Justice, the Ministerial Responsibilities within the Home Office
and a vision document entitled, `The Home OfficeProtecting
the Public and Securing our Future' which was prepared principally
for Home Office staff.
3. Will the changes lead to a delay in
production of the Home Office Main Estimates? Is a Supplementary
Estimate likely to be needed to deal with the consequences of
The Machinery of Government change did not delay
the production of the Home Office's 2007-08 Main Estimate, which
was laid before Parliament by HM Treasury on Monday 30th April.
The Home Office will subsequently be taking a Supplementary Supply
Estimate in order to implement the changes arising from the 9
May Machinery of Government change.
4. Will responsibility for resilience-issues
such as the protection of sensitive sites and post-attack planning
and civil contingencies fall to the OSCT?
Following the Machinery of Government changes,
responsibility for coordinating resilience activity (across a
range of threats and risks) will remain with the Civil Contingencies
Secretariat in the Cabinet Office. As the Office for Security
and Counter-Terrorism develops we may need to review how these
relationships work, particularly in relation to our resilience
to terrorist activity. But it is important to remember that the
resilience agenda goes much widerincluding massive issues
such as our preparedness for natural disasters, pandemic flu,
5. What steps will be taken to shift
resources from spending on prisons to other more preventative
interventions, once budgets have been transferred to the Ministry
of Justice? Who will take these steps?
This is a matter for the Ministry of Justice
6. Does the split affect the timetable
for agreeing new Home Office PSA targets? What progress has been
made towards drawing up new targets? Will this committee be consulted
before the targets are finalised, in line with your predecessor's
undertaking to us?
The CSR is due to be published in the Autumn.
This will include the new PSA targets. The changes should not
affect this timetable.
Performance indicators and targets are under
development and have not yet been agreed by Ministers. We will
send you a note by the end of May indicating the direction of
travel we are considering for your comments.
7. Given the Home Office responsibility
for reducing crime, how can the Government ensure that the Ministry
of Justice has sufficient incentive to reduce re-offending? Could
there be a joint PSA target shared by the two departments covering
reduction in crime and re-offending?
The incentive regime will be considered as part
of the work to develop new performance indicators and targets.
Departments remain committed to working together to create an
end to end justice system that reduces crime including through
Cross cutting PSAs that are shared by a number
of departments will be a feature of the SR07 PSA framework. A
joint PSA covering crime reduction and re-offending would be in
line with this approach.
8. What ministerial posts will there
be in the Home Office after 9 May, and with what responsibilities?
Details of Ministerial posts within the Home
Office, along with details of their responsibilities, are listed
in the attachments as identified in question 2.
9. What consultation have you had with
staff and unions about ensuring equity of pay and conditions of
staff who transfer departments? What is your assessment of the
effect of this split on staff morale and relations with senior
departmental staff? Is there a danger that anxiety over staff
changes will distract from core Home Office business?
In line with normal handling of machinery of
government moves, the receiving department has responsibility
to undertake consultations with employee representatives. This
approach is set out in the Cabinet Office Statement of Practice
(COSOP) for transfers of staff in the public sector. The Home
Office has held separate meetings with its employee representatives
to explain that the transfer of staff will be handled in accordance
with COSOP. Home Office officials have also had met with DCA officials
and provided them with the necessary information to enable the
transfer of staff. This information includes the details on pay
terms and conditions.
10. Will Home Office Ministers henceforth
represent the UK at European Union Justice and Home Affairs Councils?
The UK is currently represented at meetings
of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council by Ministers from the
Home Office, including the Home Secretary, the Department of Constitutional
Affairs, the Attorney General and the Scottish Executive, depending
on the agenda items for discussion at each meeting. This will
not change as a result of the Machinery of Government changes
to be implemented on 9 May. The Home Office will continue to engage
at all levels of negotiation on those EU proposals which will
remain within its remit
11. How do you envisage that the change
in Home Office functions will impact on the role of this Committee?
Will the greater degree of focus by Ministers on a smaller group
of functions enable them to be more pro-active in involving the
Committee at an earlier stage of policy development?
The Committee needs to take the lead in considering
its own role. I hope that we will continue to be able to involve
the Committee as much as possible in our work.
12. Please supply the Committee with
a full list of Home Office responsibilities as at 29 March, showing
which will transfer and which will remain, including an outline
of working level arrangements to ensure that transferred areas
are sufficiently joined-up with non-transferred areas. Likewise
a list of Home Office agencies and associated public bodies showing
which will transfer and which will remain.
Details of Departmental and Ministerial responsibilities
within the Home Office are located in the attachments as identified
in question 2.
13. You have said that lead responsibility
for all crime types will remain within the Home Office. Please
provide us with a breakdown of these crime types.
As the Home Office will continue to remain responsible
for crime, crime reduction and crime prevention, responsibility
for all crime types will remain within the Home Office.
As crimes are a function of the law at a given point in time,
it is not possible to provide a list: nonetheless, if something
is a crime, then lead responsibility for that crime will remain
with the Home Office.
14 May 2007
2 See Ev 20. Back