Matthew Rycroft on getting the Home Office ready for ‘whatever 2022 throws at the civil service’

2020 may have been a year like no other, but 2021 was a chip off the old block and relentless from day one. The Home Office chief tells us about 12 more months of dealing with Covid as well as new challenges
Home Office perm sec Matthew Rycroft. Photo: GOV.UK

By Civil Service World

23 Dec 2021


What was your highlight of 2021?

Getting out and about a lot more and meeting colleagues at their workplaces across the country has been a highlight. It’s always so energising meeting Home Office colleagues who are doing such brilliant work. I’ve also enjoyed meeting colleagues who are new to the Home Office – they have so much passion and drive to tackle some of the most important issues.

How did you tackle the biggest challenges facing your organisation in 2021?

By putting our four Home Office values – collaborative, compassionate, courageous and respectful – at the heart of what we do. They are integral to our One Home Office transformation programme. They are what keep our brilliant teams around the country going in delivering for the British people. I am immensely proud of the work Home Office teams did this year. 

What is your number one priority for 2022?

The lesson of the past few years is that it’s very dangerous to set out your number one priority at the start of the year! Whatever 2022 throws at the civil service, my priority will be to make sure the Home Office is fighting fit to respond, to deliver this government’s priorities and to serve the public. This means supporting our colleagues, having a clear view of our priorities, and building our long-term capability. But it also means continuing to embed the lessons learned from Windrush, and I’m looking forward to hearing what Wendy Williams has to say following her review of our culture and practices, two years on from her initial report.

Which historical, mythical or contemporary figure would you most like to join you for a New Year’s Eve celebration?

As the civil service inclusion champion for race and faith and belief I am always on the look-out for examples of brilliant British people who are Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic. This year’s stand-out for me has been Emma Raducanu. On our collective behalf, I would love to congratulate her on her success at the US Open. 

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