Lin Homer

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Dame Lin Homer
DCB
Photo of Lin Homer, smiling
Lin Homer, July 2013
Permanent Secretary of the
Department for Transport
In office
2011–2011
Minister Philip Hammond (until October), Justine Greening (from October)
Preceded by Robert Devereux
Succeeded by Philip Rutnam
Permanent Secretary
of HM Revenue and Customs
In office
2012 – April 2016
Minister George Osborne
Preceded by Lesley Strathie
Succeeded by Jon Thompson
Personal details
Born Linda Margaret Homer
(1957-03-04) 4 March 1957 (age 60)
Norwich, Norfolk, England, UK
Nationality British
Occupation Civil servant

Dame Linda "Lin" Margaret Homer DCB (born 4 March 1957) is a retired British civil servant who served as chief executive of HM Revenue and Customs between 2012 and 2016.

Early life[edit]

Homer was born in Sheringham, Norfolk, and educated in Beccles, Suffolk at Sir John Leman High School, where she served as head girl. She attended University College London, where she obtained an LLB degree.[1]

Career[edit]

Homer 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 on to be the chief executive of Birmingham City Council in 2002[2] and joined the civil service in 2005.[1]

In 2005, Homer was criticised by the Election Commissioner for failings in her role as returning officer during a postal vote-rigging scandal involving Labour candidates the previous year, described by the Commissioner as one that "would disgrace a banana republic", and involving hundreds of votes failing to be counted.[3] Homer defended her role to the Election Commission, saying she had been in "strategic, not operational control", and had confined herself to "motivational management and fire fighting".[4]

Home Office[edit]

Homer resigned from her post shortly afterwards, joining the civil service as the Director-General heading the Immigration and Nationality Directorate of the Home Office, in August 2005.[5] The Home Office was re-organised in 2008, with the formation of the Border and Immigration Agency, later renamed the UK Border Agency, of which Homer became the first chief executive.[6] In 2013, Homer's tenure at UKBA was criticised for its "catastrophic leadership failure" by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, which said it had been repeatedly misled by the Agency. Committee chairman Keith Vaz said her performance was "more like the scene of a Whitehall farce than a government agency operating in the 21st century".[7] Homer responded in a letter to the committee, saying that "The suggestion that I deliberately misled the Committee and refused to apologise are both untrue and unfair," adding that "It is therefore wholly inaccurate and unfair to seek to ascribe responsibility to me for matters of concern that occurred long after I left the Agency."[8]

Department for Transport[edit]

In 2010 it was announced that Homer would replace Robert Devereux as Permanent Secretary of the Department for Transport.[2][9] While serving in this role, the Department dealt with the controversial franchise letting process for West Coast Mainline rail network. Homer was among officials accused by Sir Richard Branson, head of Virgin Trains, of ignoring concerns about the letting process, whose failure is estimated to have cost £100 million.[10]

HM Revenue and Customs[edit]

In December 2011 it was announced that Homer would succeed Lesley Strathie as Chief Executive of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).[11] Homer's appointment to head of HMRC prompted criticism centred on her record in previous positions.[12][13] However, her appointment was supported by David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary to the UK Treasury, who said: "She is a highly effective chief executive and the right person to lead HMRC."[14]

In March 2013, HMRC was criticised by the House of Commons Public Accounts Select Committee for its "unambitious and woefully inadequate" response [15][16] to a report from the UK National Audit Office in December 2012 concerning poor customer service by HMRC.[17] Homer has said that the agency has "turned a corner" in dealing with the 79 million calls and 25 million pieces of post received by HMRC each year, having injected £34 million to tackle the problem with that aim of reaching a 90 per cent success rate.[18] As of 2015, Homer was paid a salary of between £185,000 and £189,999 by the department, making her one of the 328 most highly paid people in the British public sector at that time.[19]

On 11 January 2016, Homer announced she would retire from her post as chief executive of HMRC in April of that year.[20] Reviewing her performance following another summons by the Public Accounts Committee, just before retirement, she was nicknamed "Dame Disaster" by the Guardian's John Crace.[21]

She was succeeded by Jon Thompson.[22]

Honours[edit]

Homer was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 2008 Birthday Honours,[23] and Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath (DCB) in the 2016 New Year Honours.[24][25]

Title and styles[edit]

  • Linda Margaret Homer (4 March 1957–14 June 2008)
  • Linda Margaret Homer CB (14 June 2008–31 December 2015)
  • Dame Linda Margaret Homer DCB (31 December 2015–present)

Offices held[edit]

Government offices


Preceded by
Peter Bye
Chief Executive
Suffolk County Council

1998–2002
Succeeded by
Mike More
Preceded by
Sir Michael Lyons
Chief Executive
Birmingham City Council

2002–2005
Succeeded by
Stephen Hughes
Preceded by
Bill Jeffrey
Director-General,
Immigration and Nationality Directorate
Home Office

2005–2008
Succeeded by
herself
as Chief Executive
Border and Immigration Agency
Preceded by
herself
as Director-General,
Immigration and Nationality Directorate
Chief Executive of the
UK Border Agency
(previously the Border and Immigration Agency)

2008–2011
Succeeded by
Rob Whiteman
Preceded by
Robert Devereux
Permanent Secretary of the
Department for Transport

2011–2012
Succeeded by
Philip Rutnam
Preceded by
Lesley Strathie
Chief Executive of
HM Revenue and Customs

2012–2016
Succeeded by
Jon Thompson

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "HOMER, Dame Linda Margaret". Who's who. Oxford University Press. November 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b A & C Black (2011). "HOMER, Linda Margaret". Who's Who 2011. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Judge upholds vote-rigging claims BBC 4 April 2005
  4. ^ City Chief Executive was doomed to go Birmingham Post 7 June 2005
  5. ^ BBC News (6 June 2005). "New immigration chief appointed". BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Walker, David (16 December 2010). "Homer's odyssey around Whitehall". Guardian public. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Committee accuses Lin Homer of repeatedly misleading parliament over size of backlogs while in previous role The Guardian26 March 2013
  8. ^ Border Agency condemned over backlog BBC News 25 March 2013
  9. ^ Department for Transport (6 December 2010). "New Permanent Secretary for Department for Transport". COI. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "Rail fiasco boss was at failing UKBA", Daily Express, 7 October 2012.
  11. ^ Marsh, Arun (9 December 2011). "Lin Homer to take top job at HMRC". Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 4 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "Keith Vaz: Lin Homer leadership 'surprising'", BBC News, 25 March 2013.
  13. ^ How did this woman get put in charge of our taxes? Daily Mail 25 March 2013
  14. ^ "MPs criticise catastrophic leadership failure of former Border Agency chief over asylum backlog", Daily Telegraph, 25 March 2013.
  15. ^ MPs expose woeful HMRC phone service Accounting Web 18 March 2013
  16. ^ Taxman keeps 16 million hanging on the telephone
  17. ^ Phone calls to poorly-staffed HMRC advice lines cost taxpayers millions The Guardian 18 December 2012
  18. ^ "HMRC customer service has 'turned a corner'", bbc.co.uk; accessed 11 February 2016.
  19. ^ "Senior officials 'high earners' salaries as at 30 September 2015 - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. 2015-12-17. Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  20. ^ "HMRC chief executive to quit post". BBC news. 11 January 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 
  21. ^ John Grace (13 January 2016). "Lin Homer, Dame Disaster, puts in a classic display before MPs". Guardian newspapers. Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  22. ^ "New Executive Chair and Chief Executive Officer appointed to lead HM Revenue & Customs - Press releases - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 2016-03-06. 
  23. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58729. p. 2. 14 June 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  24. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 61450. p. N3. 30 December 2015.
  25. ^ "New Year's Honours 2016 list" (pdf). GOV.UK. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.