Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

Home Office

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London, United Kingdom

United Kingdom


1782, United Kingdom

Permanent secretary
Mark Sedwill

Home Office httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumb8

Annual budget
£8.9 billion (current) and £500 million (capital) in 2011–12

Minister responsible
Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for the Home Department

Department executive
Mark Sedwill, Permanent Secretary

National School of Government


The home office breakthrough and prevent by moazzam begg

The Home Office (HO) is a ministerial department of the Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom, responsible for immigration, security and law and order. As such it is responsible for the police, fire and rescue services, visas and immigration and the Security Service (MI5). It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs, counter-terrorism and ID cards. It was formerly responsible for Her Majesty's Prison Service and the National Probation Service, but these have transferred to the Ministry of Justice. The Cabinet minister responsible for the department is the Home Secretary.


The remit of the Home Office was substantially reduced in 2007 when, after Home Secretary John Reid had declared the Home Office "not fit for purpose", the Prime Minister Tony Blair separated a new Ministry of Justice from the reduced Home Office.

The Home Office continues to be known, especially in official papers and when referred to in Parliament, as the Home Department.

National pupil database sharing information with the home office october 2016


The Home Office is headed by the Home Secretary, a Cabinet minister supported by the department's senior civil servant, the Permanent Secretary.

As of October 2014, the Home Office comprised the following organisations:

Non-ministerial government departments

  • National Crime Agency
  • Inspectorates/accountability

  • HM Inspectorate of Constabulary
  • Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration
  • The Independent Police Complaints Commission and other oversight bodies
  • The Home Affairs Select Committee
  • HM Chief Inspector of Fire Service
  • Divisions

  • Border Force
  • HM Passport Office
  • Immigration Enforcement
  • Corporate Services
  • UK Visas and Immigration
  • Fire and Rescue Service
  • Non-departmental public bodies

  • Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs
  • Animals in Science Committee
  • Disclosure and Barring Service
  • Gangmasters Licensing Authority
  • Independent Police Complaints Commission
  • Investigatory Powers Tribunal
  • Migration Advisory Committee
  • National DNA Database Ethics Group
  • Office of Surveillance Commissioners
  • Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner
  • Police Advisory Board for England and Wales
  • Police Discipline Appeals Tribunal
  • Police Remuneration Review Body
  • Security Industry Authority
  • Technical Advisory Board
  • Operations

    In October 2012, a number of functions of the National Policing Improvement Agency were transferred to the Home Office ahead of the future abolition of the agency.

    These included:

  • Use of the Airwave communications system by police forces
  • The Police National Database
  • The National DNA Database
  • Legislative powers regarding police employment
  • Forensics policy
  • The National Procurement Hub for information technology
  • Ministers

    The Home Office Ministers are as follows:


    The Department outlined its aims for this Parliament in its Business Plan, which was published in May 2011 and superseded its Structural Reform Plan. The plan said the department will:

    The Home Office publishes progress against the plan on the 10 Downing Street website.


    On 27 March 1782, the Home Office was formed by renaming the existing Southern Department, with all existing staff transferring. On the same day, the Northern Department was renamed the Foreign Office.

    To match the new names, there was a transferring of responsibilities between the two Departments of State. All domestic responsibilities were moved to the Home Office, and all foreign matters became the concern of the Foreign Office.

    Most subsequently created domestic departments (excluding, for instance, those dealing with education) have been formed by splitting responsibilities away from the Home Office.

    The initial responsibilities were:

  • Answering petitions and addresses sent to the King
  • Advising the King on
  • Royal grants
  • Warrants and commissions
  • The exercise of Royal Prerogative
  • Issuing instructions on behalf of the King to officers of the Crown, Lords Lieutenant and magistrates, mainly concerning law and order
  • Operation of the secret service within the UK
  • Protecting the public
  • Safeguarding the rights and liberties of individuals
  • Responsibilities were subsequently changed over the years that followed:

  • 1793 added: regulation of aliens
  • 1794 removed: control of military forces (to Secretary of State for War)
  • 1801 removed: colonial business (to Secretary of State for War and the Colonies)
  • 1804 removed: Barbary State consuls (to Secretary of State for War and the Colonies)
  • 1823 added: prisons
  • 1829 added: police services
  • 1836 added: registration of births, deaths and marriages in England and Wales
  • 1844 added: naturalisation
  • 1845 added: registration of Friendly Societies
  • 1855 removed: yeomanries and militias (to War Office)
  • 1858 added: local boards of health
  • 1871 removed: local boards of health (to Local Government Board)
  • 1871 removed: registration of births, deaths and marriages (to Local Government Board)
  • 1872 removed: highways and turnpikes (to Local Government Board)
  • 1875 added: control of explosives
  • 1875 removed: registration of Friendly Societies (to Treasury)
  • 1885 removed: Scotland (to Secretary for Scotland and the Scottish Office)
  • 1886 removed: fishing (to Board of Trade)
  • 1889 removed: Land Commissioners (to Board of Agriculture)
  • 1900 removed: matters relating to burial grounds (to Local Government Board)
  • 1905 removed: public housing (to Local Government Board)
  • 1914 added: dangerous drugs
  • 1919 removed: aircraft and air traffic (to Air Ministry)
  • 1919 removed: use of human bodies in medical training (to Ministry of Health)
  • 1919 removed: infant and child care (to Ministry of Health)
  • 1919 removed: lunacy and mental health (to Ministry of Health)
  • 1919 removed: health and safety (to Ministry of Health)
  • 1920 added: firearms
  • 1920 removed: Representation of Britain abroad in labour matters (to Ministry of Labour)
  • 1920 removed: mining (to Mines Department)
  • 1921 added: elections (from the Ministry of Health)
  • 1922 removed: relations with Irish Free State (to Colonial Office)
  • 1923 removed: Order of the British Empire (to Treasury)
  • 1925 removed: registration of trade unions (to Ministry of Labour)
  • 1931 removed: county councils (to Ministry of Health)
  • 1933 added: poisons
  • 1934 removed: metropolitan boroughs (to Ministry of Health)
  • 1935 added: Civil Defence Service
  • 1937 removed: road accident returns (to Ministry of Transport)
  • 1938 added: fire services
  • 1938 removed: Imperial Service Order and medal (to Treasury)
  • 1940 removed: factory inspections (to Ministry of Labour)
  • 1945 removed: workmen's compensation scheme (to Ministry of National Insurance)
  • 1947 added: infant and child care (from Ministry of Health)
  • 1947 removed: regulation of advertisements (to Ministry of Town and Country Planning)
  • 1947 removed: burial fees (to Ministry of Health)
  • 1947 removed: registration of building societies (to Treasury)
  • 1948 removed: Broadmoor hospital (to Lunacy Board of Control)
  • 1949 added: Civil Defence Corps
  • 1950 removed: structural precautions for civil defence (to Ministry of Works)
  • 1950 removed: minor judicial appointments (to Lord Chancellor)
  • 1953 removed: slaughterhouses (to Ministry of Housing and Local Government)
  • 1954 removed: markets (to Ministry of Housing and Local Government)
  • 1956 removed: railway accidents (to Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation)
  • 1969 removed: reservoirs (to Ministry of Housing and Local Government)
  • 1971 removed: child care in England (to Department of Health and Social Security)
  • 1971 removed: child care in Wales (to Welsh Office)
  • 1972 removed: Northern Ireland (to Northern Ireland Office)
  • 1973 removed: adoption (to Department of Health and Social Security)
  • 1992 removed: broadcasting and sport (to the new Department of National Heritage – later the Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
  • 2007 removed: criminal justice, prisons & probation and legal affairs (to new Ministry of Justice)
  • 2007 added: counter-terrorism strategy (from the Cabinet Office)
  • 2016 added: fire and rescue services (from the Department for Communities and Local Government)
  • The Home Office retains a variety of functions that have not found a home elsewhere, and sit oddly with the main law-and-order focus of the department, such as regulation of British Summer Time.

    Anonymous attack

    On 7 April 2012, hacktivist group Anonymous temporarily took down the UK Home Office website. The group took responsibility for the attack, which was part of ongoing Anonymous activity in protest against the deportation of hackers as part of Operation TrialAtHome. One Anonymous source claimed in their tweet it was also launched in retaliation for "draconian surveillance proposals".

    Union Action

    On 18 July 2012, the Public and Commercial Services Union announced that thousands of Home Office employees would go on strike over jobs, pay and other issues. However, the PCSU called off the strike before it was planned it claimed the department had, subsequent to the threat of actions, announced 1,100 new border jobs.


    From 1978 to 2004, the Home Office was located at 50 Queen Anne's Gate, a Brutalist office block in Westminster designed by Sir Basil Spence, close to St. James's Park tube station. Many functions, however, were devolved to offices in other parts of London and the country, notably the headquarters of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate in Croydon.

    In 2005, the Home Office moved to a new main office designed by Sir Terry Farrell at 2 Marsham Street, Westminster, SW1P 4DF, on the site of the demolished Marsham Towers building of the Department of the Environment.

    For external shots of its fictional Home Office, the TV series Spooks uses an aerial shot of the Government Offices Great George Street instead, serving as stand-in to match the distinctly less modern appearance of the fictitious accommodation interiors the series uses.


    To meet the UK's 5-year science and technology strategy, the Home Office sponsors research in police sciences including:

  • Biometrics – including face and voice recognition
  • Cell type analysis – to determine the origin of cells (e.g. hair, skin)
  • Chemistry – new techniques to recover latent fingerprints
  • DNA – identifying offender characteristics from DNA
  • Improved Profiling – of illicit drugs to help identify their source
  • Raman Spectroscopy – to provide more sensitive drugs and explosives detectors (e.g. roadside drug detection)
  • Terahertz imaging methods and technologies – e.g. image analysis and new cameras, to detect crime, enhance images and support anti-terrorism
  • Devolution

    Most front-line law and order policy areas, such as policing and criminal justice, are devolved in Scotland and Northern Ireland but the following reserved and excepted matters are handled by Westminster.


    Reserved matters:

  • The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
  • Extradition legislation, but the Scottish Ministers (through the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service) have executive responsibility for all aspects of mutual legal assistance
  • Most aspects of Firearms legislation, but Scottish Ministers have some executive responsibilities for the licensing of firearms. Further powers are transferred under the Scotland Act 2012
  • Immigration and nationality
  • Scientific procedures on live animals
  • The Scottish Government Justice and Communities Directorates are responsible for devolved justice and home affairs policy.

    Northern Ireland

    Excepted matters:

  • Extradition (as an international relations matter)
  • Immigration and nationality
  • The following matters were not transferred at the devolution of policing and justice on 12 April 2010 and remain reserved:

  • Drug classification
  • Parades
  • Security of explosives
  • Serious Organised Crime Agency
  • The Home Office's main counterparts in Northern Ireland are:

  • Department of Justice (policing, public order and community safety)
  • Northern Ireland Office (national security in Northern Ireland)
  • The Department of Justice is accountable to the Northern Ireland Executive whereas the Northern Ireland Office is a UK Government department.


    Under the Welsh devolution settlement, specific policy areas are transferred to the National Assembly for Wales rather than reserved to Westminster.


    Home Office Wikipedia