HC Deb 29 May 1857 vol 145 cc1002-3

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the course pursued when candidates for employment in the Civil Service are nominated by Members of Parliament; whether a candidate so nominated is necessarily admitted to examination; whether there is any competition for employment in the Civil Service, and whether, in fact, with the exception of a simple examination as to the ordinary qualifications for office, the old system of patronage and favouritism did not still remain in force? He had been induced to put these questions in order to remove all uncertainty with respect to the subject to which they related. That such uncertainty now existed he was convinced, from the number of letters which had been addressed to him, stating that a general impression prevailed throughout the country that if a Member of Parliament were to recommend a candidate for an appointment he was not subjected to examination, and that, in fact, there was no competition.


said, the impression which his hon. Friend had described as prevailing out of doors was entirely erroneous, as Members of Parliament possessed no right to nominate candidates for public situations which was not enjoyed in an equal degree by every other member of the community. All the regulations which existed upon the subject were embodied in an Order in Council of May, 1855, and if his hon. Friend would refer to that Order, he would find that it contained everything which it was material that he should know. He might add, that there were also two Reports upon the subject which had emanated from the Civil Service Examination Commissioners, and from which his hon. Friend would be enabled to ascertain the manner in which the Order in Council had been carried into effect. He would learn from that Report that in addition to the ordinary examinations, in which no competition took place, there were several instances in which the heads of the public departments had selected candidates, in whose case there had been competition. That was a matter in which the heads of departments exercised their own discretion, and he might add that the competition was not unlimited, but existed between a certain limited number of persons.


said, he would take that opportunity of giving notice that upon the Motion for going into Committee upon the Civil Service Estimates he should bring the subject to which his hon. Friend (Mr. Bass) had called their attention under the consideration of the House.