Asylum chief quits Home Office as Labor tackles ‘chaos and confusion’ in department

Home Office asylum chief quits amid growing ‘chaos and confusion’ over rapidly changing home secretaries, Channel crossings and troubled Rwanda deal .

Emma Haddad’s position as Director General of Asylum and Protection has been eliminated following her resignation, The Independent can reveal.

His responsibilities fall to the Managing Director of ‘Client Services’, who is also the Managing Director of HM Passport Office and UK Visas and Immigration, and Registrar General for England and the Country of Wales.

News of the official’s departure emerged after Home Secretary Suella Braverman left this week


The reason for Ms Haddad’s resignation has not been made public, but a source said it was “clearly not a happy start”.

Some officials worry about the loss of his vast experience in the current political turmoil, which has seen the departure of two secretaries of state in just over a month.

Yvette Cooper, Labor Home Secretary, said: ‘It has been clear for months that this is a Home Office under special measures.

“Three Tory Secretaries of State in a matter of months, backlogs across the department, asylum decisions cut in half, millions spent on a failing Rwandan program, and now the resignation of a senior civil servant. The Tories don’t offer no stability and it puts our country in danger.Internal affairs are too important to face such chaos and confusion.

The border watchdog criticized the approach to Channel crossings this week

(PA wire)

Ms Haddad, a civil servant for nearly two decades, had been appointed Director General of Asylum and Protection in February 2021 and was responsible for implementing Priti Patel’s changes to the system as well as programs for Ukrainian refugees. and Afghans.

As well as a five-year stint at the Department for Work and Pensions, she has worked at the Home Office since 2009 – mainly in the area of ​​asylum – and previously advised the European Commission on migration. She has also written a book on refugee protection.

Ms Haddad’s profile featured prominently on the Home Office website until October 7, around a month after Suella Braverman joined.

The Independent understands that Abi Tierney, the chief executive who takes on Ms Haddad’s responsibilities, is well regarded within the Home Office. She joined the civil service from the private sector, most recently Serco Health, in 2020, and some officials are concerned about her lack of asylum experience.

Grant Shapps has been appointed Home Secretary but faces a series of challenges


A former interior ministry mandarin said The Independent that asylum had not historically had a dedicated chief executive, and that the sector had been separated from wider immigration due to its political importance and the workload generated by Channel crossings.

But he said he has always been separated from the Passport Office due to the different nature of the responsibilities he holds.

It is unclear whether Ms Haddad’s annual salary, around £130,000 a year according to Home Office records, will be saved following her departure, or whether Ms Tierney’s salary will be increased to reflect its wider role.

Matthew Rycroft, Home Office Permanent Secretary, said: ‘I can confirm that Emma Haddad, Director General of Asylum and Protection, is leaving the Home Office after 18 years in public service. She has been a dedicated public servant and we thank her for the passion, leadership and integrity she has shown throughout her tenure at the Home Office.

“Abi Tierney, Managing Director of Client Services, took over Emma’s responsibilities.”

Following Ms Braverman’s shock resignation on Wednesday, Mr Rycroft emailed all Home Office staff saying he understood if they were upset.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper says the Home Office is in ‘special measures’

(PA wire)

The message, seen by The Independentsaid: “We are delighted to welcome the new Home Secretary to the department and look forward to working alongside him on government priorities.

“I know that another change of Minister of the Interior can be destabilizing for certain colleagues. But I am sure that you will all continue to demonstrate the utmost professionalism in achieving the government’s priorities.

Grant Shapps had been in office for less than a day when Liz Truss resigned as Prime Minister. His resignation sparked a new Tory leadership election that could see Mr Shapps ousted in another cabinet reshuffle.

It comes as four legal challenges related to the Rwanda deal are still pending, with no flights scheduled. A charter company dropped the program on Friday.

The government has changed policy so that asylum claims from people traveling through safe third countries – such as France – are now declared “inadmissible” for consideration, but the failure to replicate a pre-Brexit deal with European countries made it almost impossible to transfer them elsewhere.

A record backlog of applications awaiting a decision means thousands of asylum seekers are in hotels due to insufficient accommodation at the Home Office, despite the government admitting their use for children unaccompanied is illegal.

On Wednesday, the border watchdog warned that a ‘crisis response’ to increased Channel crossings had shifted to ‘business as usual’ despite gaps in monitoring and service delivery keys.

“A rambling response at day one or even week one might be excused, but at month 10 that’s not acceptable,” David Neal said. “Senior management action is needed to unlock the suboptimal ownership of this problem.”

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