TV personality Ruby Wax has been hired by the Home Office to help train staff, it was confirmed today.
The presenter has run workshops for senior civil servants in leadership and communication, the Home Office said.
"The Home Office is committed to providing our staff with the best training possible, whilst ensuring value for money," a spokesman said.
"This course is designed to help equip senior staff with the skills needed to engage effectively with the public and other stakeholders to achieve our aim of working together to protect the public."
US-born Wax, who made her name in the UK as a comedian and TV interviewer, has been working as a leadership consultant and executive coach after studying psychotherapy and neuroscience.
Her website said she draws on her 25 years of interviewing experience to help leaders from organisations as diverse as Skype, Deutsche Bank and the Home Office.
Her workshops have included clips of interviews with Madonna and practical exercises to highlight the difference between talking at someone rather than with someone.
Participants learn to be more aware of their colleagues, clients and partners and how to present a more human face using humour, empathy and honesty.
But the hiring of Wax by the Home Office has come under fire from Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne.
He told The Times: "At a time when public finances are under huge strain, we surely do not need to pay celebrities to wax lyrical to mandarins.
"Unless American comedians can make the Home Office fit for purpose, the taxpayer won't be laughing."