HC Deb 29 May 1862 vol 167 cc92-3

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether the Government have taken any steps to carry out the recommendation of the Select Committee on Civil Service Ap- pointments, to the effect "that the experiment of open competition for junior clerkships, tried at the India Board in 1859, be repeated from time to time in the other departments of the Civil Service?"


said, the present arrangement for competitive examinations was this—that the candidates for each examination were in the first place examined upon a standard test, to see whether they had what might be called a minimum of the acquirements necessary for the appointments for which they wished to compete. The usual practice then was to select three candidates for every vacancy, who were subjected to competitive examination. It was not intended by Her Majesty's Government to widen that range of competition, and he thought there were good reasons for that determination. If the competition was thrown open to all comers, the result would be that for ten vacancies, instead of thirty, there would be 300 candidates, and there would be spread over a still wider surface the disappointment which was the inevitable consequence even of the limited competition which the Government had established. He thought, that although, the disappointment was an evil, the advantages of competition predominated, and that the effect of appointing three candidates to compete for every vacancy was to benefit the public service. But he thought it would be very hard if they allowed a whole troop of young men to come up for competition, and subjected the greater number to inevitable disappointment, besides diverting their minds from other occupations and pursuits in life, where they would find profitable employment and a useful career.


said, he wished to ask whether the two unsuccessful candidates could compete for the next vacancy?


said, that would depend upon the discretion of the head of the department where the vacancy occurred. If there was reason to think that they were well qualified, although not so qualified as the one who had gained the first place, they might be allowed a second trial, but they had no right to claim it.