Saturday, 10 December 2011

New Head OF HMRC

Most of the blogs I write are about local matters, but on this occasion I’m writing about something that is happening at a national level, but may have an effect on the thinking of those in power at a more local level.

So here goes, Her Majesties Revenue & Customs, HMRC,  today it was announced that the new head of HMRC was to be Ms Lin Homer , Ms Homer will take up the post in 2012. A top job for a top person, maybe?

 Sir Gus O'Donnell, head of the civil service, welcomed the announcement and said 'a wealth of experience working in the public service in central and local government' would allow Homer to excel in her new role.”

Well Ms Homer does have a lot of experience working in Local Government; she qualified as a lawyer in 1980 whilst at Reading Borough Council. In 1982 she joined Hertfordshire County Council where she stayed for 15 years, rising to Director of Corporate Services. She then left to join Suffolk County Council as chief executive in 1998. After four years at Suffolk, Homer went to be the chief executive of Birmingham City Council in 2002.

Birmingham City Council, Chief Executive, 2005: That rings a bell, Chief Returning Officer, Ms Lin Homer. Election year.

 John Hemmings (then a Lib Dem councillor and now MP for Yardley) launched an election petition which led to the first Election Commission in one hundred years.

Hemming’s allegations were that the Birmingham Labour party were involved in the corruption of the postal ballot rules on an industrial scale. Several Labour councillors were accused of serious electoral malpractice.

The allegations were really beyond belief. It appears that the Kashmir war was being re fought on the streets of Birmingham. Postmen, carrying postal ballot forms were threatened with having their throats cut if they didn’t part with the goods. Heads of households, acting like latter day moguls, were signing off whole families to vote Labour whether they liked it or not. Two were found, late at night in a factory unit in front of a table groaning with postal ballots, pens and tippex.

The night of the council elections were a total fiasco. Ballot boxes were lost or turned up too late to count. After the elections a couple of Tesco carrier bags full of uncounted votes were found in a very senior council executive’s office. He resigned.

Needless to say the Election Commissioner look a pretty dim view of it all and made the famous remarks that in electoral terms Britain had become, “a banana republic”. He ruled that Labour had been responsible for, “massive, systematic and organised postal ballot fraud.” But some special words were reserved for the Chief Returning Officer, also the chief executive of the council. She had, “thrown the rule book out of the window”. Very sensibly our Lin thought it was time for a career change.

So her old mates in Labour helped her out. She became the new head of the UK Borders Agency.

How strange that she left to become Permanent Secretary at the Department of Transport this year during the holiday season, when it appears the rule book had been thrown out of the window by relaxing checks on those entering the UK.
Lin, is now to be made the Chief Executive of  HMRC.
Just what do these people have to do to get the sack?

This just goes way past “Peter Principle”

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