HC Deb 15 July 1875 vol 225 cc1481-2

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, If he will explain to the House how it has happened that since the passing of the Act 36 Vic. c. 23, many persons have been appointed by the Postmaster General to situations in his office without a certificate from the Civil Service Commissioners, or if such persons were appointed before that Act, why it has become necessary to introduce another Bill on the subject; and, whether he will lay upon the Table before proceeding with the Bill, a statement showing the names, ages, nature, and date of first appointments, and nature and salaries of appointments now held by the persons to whom the Bill is intended to apply?


Sir, the Act 36 Vict. c. 23, was passed to remedy the absence of Civil Service Certificates in the case of persons appointed to situations in the public service between the year 1859 and the 4th of June, 1870. In all the cases dealt with under the Act—a list of which will be found in Parliamentary Paper 49 of 1874—the omission to procure a certificate was due to accident or inadvertence. The mischief which the present Bill is intended to cure is of a different kind, and arises as follows:—When the telegraphs were taken over by the State it became necessary to arrange a scheme of admission to the new service. There was, however, considerable delay in doing this, as the question was a difficult one and the pressure of other business was great, and it was not until September, 1874, that a settlement was made. Most of the correspondence will be found in the Appendix to the Report of the Controller and Auditor General on the Appropriation Account for 1872–73. In the interval it was necessary to keep the service recruited, and appointments were made by the Postmaster General without the intervention of the Civil Service Commissioners. These are the appointments the Bill is intended to validate. Their number is about 5,000; but I fear it would be impossible to give accurately all the particulars mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman during the present Session. Such a Return would take a long time to prepare, as the persons concerned are scattered all over the United Kingdom. The Bill, however, provides that the names of all the persons affected by it shall eventually be laid before Parliament. A Schedule of the names of persons appointed to offices on the London establishment is being prepared, and could be laid on the Table in the course of a few days.