Keith Vaz
Keith Vaz, chairman of the committee, said It was irresponsible of the Home Office to continue paying big bonuses Reuters

The Home Office has been slammed by an influential group of MPs over its "irresponsible big bonus" culture.

The all-party Home Affairs Select Committee said it was irresponsible for the Home Office to continue to pay big staff bonuses, with a total value of more than £6.5m, in light of the current financial pressures on the department and the increased public scrutiny on bonuses.

But the report by MPs did note the Home Office's permanent secretary, Mark Sedwill, showed leadership by not taking a bonus for this year.

"It is irresponsible that the Home Office has continued to pay big bonuses despite presiding over many failures," said Keith Vaz, chairman of the committee.

He added: "I welcome the fact that Sedwill has led from the front and refused a bonus for this year, others in the department should have followed his lead. We should end the culture of rewarding failure."

The report also stressed the engagement and confidence in the leadership of the Civil Service in the Home Office is at "crisis levels" and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

The group of MPs also recommended that the government should issue detailed guidance to Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and Chief Constables about good procurement practice.

In addition, the report said there is an urgent need for all Home Office contracts to be made more transparent and efficient.

"It is futile to continue to pay vast amounts of money to large companies who do not perform," Vaz said.

He added: "Smaller deals will allow the government to root out those who do not deliver."

But a Home Office spokeswoman said the department is succeeding in cutting crime, reducing immigration and securing the UK from terrorism at the same time as reducing expenditure.

She added: "Staff who make exceptional contributions to the work of the Home Office are eligible for special one-off payments - the majority of staff given payments during 2012/13, the year of the London Olympics, received less than £500."

The report comes after an internal employee engagement survey from the Home Office, which questioned more than 15,000 staff, revealed that less than three in ten (29%) employees felt their pay reflected their performance.

The Home Office People Survey 2013, which was part of the Civil Service-wide survey of staff attitudes and experiences of work, also recorded that only 28% of the department's staff said they were satisfied with the their total benefits package.