Windrush Lessons Learned Review

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:57 pm on 21st July 2020.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for the Home Department 1:57 pm, 21st July 2020

The hon. Lady has raised some important points. She first acknowledged the lack of senior leadership, and diversity in senior leadership, particularly in the Home Office. If I may say so, that is a feature, sadly, across Government—across the civil service; it is something that the Government are collectively trying to change. As the leader of the Home Office, it is my responsibility to look at what more we can do to support diversity, even by mentoring—something that I feel very strongly about, from my previous career—individuals from across all backgrounds. Specifically, it is absolutely wrong—I have raised this at a senior management level in my Department—that our own staff members from black and Asian minority ethnic communities are stuck at certain grades in my Department. That is really not acceptable. We should find mentoring schemes to grow them and develop them and their careers. I absolutely believe in that and I want to achieve much more on that front.

The hon. Lady specifically references Lunar House and the remarkable work that individuals and colleagues from the Home Office undertake there. If I may say so, even in Wendy’s report, references to Lunar House were not necessarily made in a positive light. There are a lot of cases. We deal with people. The Home Office is a caseworking Department, dealing with thousands of people day in, day out. In terms of staffing, it is not just about numbers; it is about training and support around our personnel. That is really important, and that is why I need to do more, and my Department—my permanent secretary—needs to do more as well, in terms of investing in people. I fundamentally believe in that, and I think that is the right approach for the future. We will grow and develop our staff, so that we can work in a fundamentally different way with people who come to us.