Home Office Restructuring

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 11:31 am on 29th March 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Reid John Reid Home Secretary, The Secretary of State for the Home Department 11:31 am, 29th March 2007

On the process point, I have already explained the matter. In fact, at the risk of boring the hon. Gentleman, there were 10 occasions on which the previous Administration did not even deign to come to Parliament with an oral statement. On some occasions they did not even issue a written ministerial statement. They changed the machinery of government by a press release from Downing street.

The Prime Minister made a written ministerial statement this morning. I have come here in response to the urgent question. I am more than happy to go through all the elements with hon. Members in a search for consensus. Of course with any of these things there are judgments to be made. Of course there is controversy, but the idea that, by preserving the present structure, we have some benign recipe for perfect co-ordination and operations within the Home Office does not strike me as self-evidently true on the basis of history. It may have been true, but as I have said, each of the units of the Home Office already has a plan for reform. I have introduced three of them, and several were introduced by my predecessor. They are being worked through, including the National Offender Management System. All those elements will continue. This reconfiguration is not a substitute for improving the quality of each of the constituent elements. It will not involve the expense that the Liberal Democrat spokesman, Mr. Clegg, expects. It will be accomplished within the existing budgets of the Home Office and the DCA. The change will not require the expenditure of time, energy or resources that is anticipated. If hon. Gentlemen will give us time to go through that, I am more than open to discussing that continually with them.