David Cameron has rewarded a senior civil servant who committed a “catastrophic leadership failure” in the new year’s honours list.

lin homerValentine Low and Lucy Fisher in the Times record that Lin Homer, the chief executive of Revenue & Customs, becomes a Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath, despite being heavily criticised in a succession of jobs.

Dame Lin has repeatedly been seen to fail during her meteoric career, note a 2012 article:

  • She was criticised in 2005 when she was chief executive of Birmingham city council; a judge said that she had “thrown the rule book out of the window” in an effort to increase postal vote applications. Richard Mawrey, the election commissioner, described the following electoral fraud as one which “would disgrace a banana republic”.
  • In her role as chief executive of the UK Border Agency (2008), she was accused of repeatedly misleading MPs over the size of the backlogs in asylum and immigration.
  • In 2010, when she was permanent secretary at the Department for Transport, where she stayed for less than 12 months, she was among officials criticised by Sir Richard Branson for ignoring concerns over the franchising competition for the West Coast main line.
  • In her present role as head of HMRC, she has been accused by the public accounts committee of “an unambitious and woefully inadequate” response to a deplorable National Audit Office report – see an earlier Political Concern post .

Why has Ms Homer been given this accolade?