HC Deb 25 June 1883 vol 280 cc1412-3

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it is a fact that inspectors and collectors of the Inland Revenue Department, when holding investigations into charges brought against officers, take evidence against them in their absence, so as to deprive them of the right of cross-examination or contradiction; whether evidence so obtained is made the ground for punishment by censure or removal at the expense of the officers; whether censure so passed is made to stand against the officer for a period of ten years, and when any subsequent report or complaint, however trifling, is made, such censure is treated as of record, and used against him; whether a representation made by an officer that he has been unjustly treated in this way is deemed an act of insubordination; whether a superior officer under this system cannot with comparative impunity bring false charges against a subordinate; and, whether he has any reason to believe that officers suffering under such injustice are constrained to submit from fear of becoming "marked men?"


Sir, in reply to the first Question of the hon. Member, I have to say that, if statements affecting an Inland Revenue officer are made in his absence, he is always given an opportunity of contradicting or explaining them, either verbally or in writing. If, after such opportunity has been given, a charge is fully substantiated against an Inland Revenue officer, censure or other punishment would naturally follow. The answer to the third Question is "No." Censure stands against an officer for ono or two years only. The answer to the fourth Question is "No." I do not consider that the system, as I have described it, facilitates false charges against subordinates; nor have I reason to believe that officers are intimidated in the manner suggested in the last Question.


O'CONNOR asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would give an assurance that, in the case of proved injustice done under the existing system to any officer, that officer would be saved from any consequence not fairly due to his conduct?


said, that in the case of proved injustice it would, of course, be his duty to endeavour to have right done.