HC Deb 31 August 1880 vol 256 cc816-7

asked the Postmaster General, Whether it is, as has been stated, proposed to introduce the system of open competition in the appointment of the female clerks employed in the Savings Bank and other Departments of the Post Office?


In reply to the Question of my hon. Friend the Member for Stockport, I am glad to be able to state that it has been decided to apply the system of open competition to the appointments to female clerkships in the Savings Bank and other Departments of the London, Dublin, and Edinburgh Post Offices. As the demand by women for employment is so great, I fear that the number of those who will compete for these appointments will, in all probability, so largely exceed the number to be disposed of that I am at the present time considering, in conjunction with the Civil Service Commissioners, whether some plan cannot be devised which will restrict the number of competitors within reasonable limits. Without pledging myself at the present moment to the adoption of any particular scheme, I think the object to which reference has just been made may be attained by confining the competition to those who have previously passed some public examination—such, for instance, as the University local examinations. The plan which has hitherto been adopted with regard to the appointments in the Savings Bank and Accountant General's Departments has been one of limited competition, three candidates being nominated for each appointment. When I took Office I found that a considerable number of ladies had been promised nominations by my Predecessor. As I was very reluctant to deprive these ladies of the promised opportunity of competing, I have kept them on my list; and I think it is only fair that they, and those whom I have myself nominated, should have a chance of competing before the system of open competition comes into operation. I will take care, however, that there shall be no unnecessary delay in bringing this system into working order, and due notice shall be given of the time when the first public examination will be held, and of the conditions which it will be necessary for the candidates to fulfil.


asked if facilities would be given for conducting a competitive examination at Dublin as well as in London, so that candidates would not be obliged to come to London?


That is a question which rather rests with the Civil Service Commissioners than myself; but I can assure the hon. Member that, as far as I am concerned, I will do everything in my power to give every person a fair chance of competing without subjecting them to the unnecessary trouble of travelling hundreds of miles to London.