Former HMRC chief exec Lin Homer takes up Birmingham University role

Advisory Committee on Business Appointments gives the nod to unpaid Birmingham University role for the former HMRC chief

By Civil Service World

19 Jul 2016

Dame Lin Homer, the former chief executive of HM Revenue and Customs, has taken up a new role on the governing body of the University of Birmingham.

Dame Lin led HMRC from 2012 until this year, and had previously served as the most senior official at the Department for Transport and as the first chief executive of the now-abolished UK Border Agency. Before joining the civil service, she was the chief exec of Birmingham City Council.

Homer's predecessor as HMRC chief, Dave Hartnett, came in for public criticism after taking on a paid advisory role with tax consultancy Deloitte after leaving office. Announcing her departure from the HMRC job, Homer said she would be "fully sensitive to the responsibility and care that senior HMRC officials should take when considering the appropriateness of potential roles and organisations​".

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The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) this week announced that it had approved Dame Lin's bid to become a member of the University of Birmingham Council, an unpaid role which the watchdog said was in line with her "longstanding" relationship with the university. Dame Lin was awarded an honorary doctorate by Birmingham in 2013.

Acoba said that while Dame Lin "had been involved in the development and administration of departmental tax policy" during her time in HMRC, it noted that this would impact on "all organisations of this nature" meaning that the former HMRC chief's appointment "would not therefore afford the university an unfair advantage".

The watchdog's letter to the HR department of HMRC says Dame Lin had "no contractual dealings with her prospective employer over her last two years of service and that she had no access to commercially sensitive information about any of its competitors".

Dame Lin's appointment at the University was subject to the standard three-month cooling off period for senior officials leaving government to take on new roles, and Acoba has said she "should not become personally involved in lobbying" the UK government on behalf of the institution for two years from her last day in office.

According to Acoba's just-published annual report, the appointments watchdog advised 36 former crown servants on the propriety of taking up some 110 new jobs in 2015-16. 

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