Home Office seeks DG for combined Border Force and immigration enforcement

Up to £149k on offer to lead second largest law enforcement entity in the UK
Photo: Acabashi/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The Home Office is combining its Border Force and immigration enforcement commands and seeking an "engaging and collaborative leader" to head up the new organisation, as part of an overhaul of operations.

The department is offering up to  £149,000 for the new director general of Border Force and enforcement, who will replace two separate posts.

The two divisions will remain separate on the front line, but major planning and support functions will be combined into a single corporate organisation – making it the second largest law enforcement entity in the UK, after the Metropolitan Police Service.

The new DG will oversee a staff of 15,000, a budget of £1.28bn and an operational fleet comprising five maritime cutters and six coastal patrol vessels.

Paul Lincoln, the current head of Border Force and Tyson Hepple, who heads up immigration enforcement, are leaving.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Their dedication and professionalism have made them both excellent leaders and I know they will both be missed by many people here."

The candidate replacing them will, among other things, be accountable for the operational aspects of legitimate arrivals at the UK border, as well as preventing clandestine entry to the country; lead the Digital Services at the Border programme; head up the inland immigration enforcement teams, which include uniformed staff and criminal and financial investigators; and oversee the immigration detention estate.

They will also be accountable for the administration of the compliant environment policy – a package of measures to deny access to work, benefits and services to people who are in the illegally, formerly known as the hostile environment. The measures are currently under review following the Windrush lessons-learned review.

The successful candidate must have experience leading a large-scale organisational change programme, including leading major tech programmes, and “strong strategic skills for the new capability, alongside an ability to see the big picture and design and articulate a clear vision in a fluid, political and complicated environment”.

They must also be able to work in a “politically complex landscape”, building relationships – and influencing the opinions of – ministers and other politicians

One Home Office transformation

The change is happening under the One Home Office transformation programme, which began in April.

“The One Home Office transformation programme seeks to equip the department for the future, help us to move on from Covid, respond to Windrush and ensure we are well placed to capitalise on the opportunities of EU exit. All of our work will be underpinned by our new Home Office values: respectful, courageous, compassionate and collaborative,” the department’s permanent secretary, Matthew Rycroft, told MPs on the Public Accounts Committee in a letter.

To achieve this, its goals include establishing “clearer roles and responsibilities for all teams” and creating “more integrated teams”, Rycroft said.

The reforms will reduce the number of DGs in the department from 10 to eight.

The new DG will be one of five heading up what Rycroft called “horizontal ‘capabilities’, centres of excellence delivering high-quality and efficient services, both to the department and directly to customers”. The others, some of whom are already in post, will lead customer service, legal, corporate and comms operations.

There will also be three director generals leading vertical “missions… set up to deliver end-to-end services”, Rycroft said: homeland security, public safety, and migration and borders.

“The capabilities and missions will work together closely and hold one another to account,” Rycroft said.

Applications for the Border Force and enforcement role, which comes with a salary of between £130,000 and £149,000, close on 8 August.

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