Capability review finds Home Office in need of immediate action

The Home Office has come bottom of the pile in the first round of the government’s new departmental capability reviews and minister John Reid has already announced a redeployment of a quarter of his top officials.

Four departments, the Home Office, and the departments for constitutional affairs, work and pensions and education and skills, all underwent the reviews, which were ordered by cabinet secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell.

He said the reviews were designed to bring “strong values, a strong culture and stronger capability” to the Civil Service.

The review of the Home Office found “significant weaknesses” or “significant concerns” in all of the 10 key tests of the department’s leadership, strategy and direction.

Under new plans announced by Reid, all directors and 250 senior civil servants will have to undergo a “skills assessment” in light of the capability review.

The Home Office was the only department to receive the worst rating – which calls for immediate intervention – in the areas of building capacity and motivating staff and planning, resourcing and prioritising.

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) needed urgent action in the area of people management, the reviews found.

The DfES has people management plans that are “underdeveloped and undervalued” and “poor performance is badly managed” in the department.

The chief civil servant at the department, David Bell, said that people management needed dramatic improvement.

The DWP’s permanent secretary, Leigh Lewis, said: “The review rightly identifies that too many of our staff, whilst proud of what they do, are not proud of the department or the way they are led.”

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