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H&P briefs Home Office on lessons from history

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Professor Richard Roberts, Director of the ICBH and Professor of Contemporary History, and Dr. Chris Williams, Senior Lecturer in History and the Open University, last week took part in a history workshop with senior Home Office officials, considering spending cuts in the Home Office from an historic perspective.

The session formed part of the Home Office 'Learning from Experience' programme, headed by Kenneth Sutton, formerly Director of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s Secretariat. It focused on the impact of the Committee on National Expenditure of 1922, chaired by Sir Eric Geddes. The Committee produced proposals for reductions in spending that came to be known as 'Geddes Axe'.

Professor Roberts briefed the group on the general context, drawing on his forthcoming history of Geddes Axe. Chris Williams then led subgroups in considering primary historical documents dealing with the impact of the cuts upon the Home Office, and the response to them, followed by feedback and discussion.

Dr. Andrew Blick, Director of H&P, who also attended the session, said: 'We are delighted to be taking part in these kinds of sessions with key policy makers, bringing them into contact with the methods and materials of historians. It is core to our purpose at H&P and we intend to build on this work in future.'

The workshop was part of an ongoing Whitehall engagement programme run by Dr. Williams on behalf of History & Policy.

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H&P is based at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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