The last post?
The FT leader summed up the Queen’s speech perfectly, ‘the programme still includes some substantial and worthwhile initiatives, such as the pensions bill and the incapacity bill…the exception to this sense of being becalmed is the Home Office where a bit less activity would have been welcomed.’
Most of the newspapers in their digest of the Queen’s Speech noted that Labour Government has introduced more than 50 Home Office Bills since 1997. Some of these are important (if not controversial) but once again (the FT says) more does not necessarily mean better (or safer). This law-making frenzy will make no impact on crime and national security if there is a shortage of effective administrators to run the services over which it provides.
We are soon to begin a project on the public value of security which aims to review the UK’s security architecture and identify whether it can meet the threats of the 21st century. While legislation will be one important tool it will by no means be the answer – something John Reid, I think, has been distracted by. The Home Office and other relevant security agencies have got to become much smarter about how they operate in the future.
Some senior officials within Government believe that it is the Home Office’s culture which must change. Yet faced with the choice of major reform or ‘action’ through legislation the department will most likely opt for the latter.