Suffolk: Ex-council chief accused of ‘catastrophic leadership failure’ while in charge of UK Border Agency

Lin Homer

Lin Homer - Credit: PA

A FORMER chief executive of Suffolk County Council has been accused of misleading MPs and evading “responsibility for her failings”.

Lin Homer, one of the UK’s most senior civil servants, has been accused in a report by the Home Affairs Committee of “catastrophic leadership failure” during her five years in charge of the UK Border Agency.

The report said: “It is appalling that a senior civil servant should have misled the committee in the way that Ms Homer did and that she continues, even in the light of the inspector’s findings, to try and evade responsibility for her failings.”

The report went on to criticise what it described as “a long line of failings” in the Border Agency, “many of which occurred throughout Ms Homer’s time as chief executive”.

Ms Homer, 56, worked as chief executive of Suffolk County Council from 1998 to 2002.

The report added: “This whole episode raises serious concerns about the accountability of the most senior civil servants 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 being ‘not fit for purpose’ should have improved its performance so little.”

Ms Homer has since been promoted to become chief executive and Permanent Secretary at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs – a decision that “astounded” the committee.

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The report added: “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.”

Ms Homer has written to the committee in response to the allegations, as many of the difficulties described in the report came some time after her departure.

She said: “It is therefore wholly inaccurate and unfair to seek to ascribe responsibility to me for matters of concern that occurred long after I left the agency.”