HC Deb 17 March 1887 vol 312 cc571-2

The alterations commenced in 1885 for the purpose of securing a more efficient management and control over the employment of labour and the appropriation of material in the yards have worked well, and have more than justified the anticipations formed of their ultimate utility. The appointment of a Director of Dockyards has strengthened from an executive, and that of an Inspector of Yard Accounts from a financial point of view, the control of the Admiralty over dockyard business and expenditure. Simultaneously with the creation of these offices, a system of improved local management has been inaugurated, whereby the Admiral Superintendents have been furnished with competent professional assistance in the management of the Dockyards. Arrangements have been made by which the professional officers are enabled to obtain rapidly, and, if necessary, direct from the contractors, the supplies they may require, and they will be made responsible for proper check and account of the outlay incurred under their superintendence. An improved and more accurate form of estimating repairs has been instituted, facilitating a detailed check over this class of expenditure. Substantial savings have been made in this annual outlay. Steps have been taken whereby the incidental expenditure, at one time forming almost a third of the outlay of the yards, will be regulated and classified; numerous obsolete but expensive Returns have been abolished, and an inquiry into the number of the clerical staff and those employed in writing duties has been instituted, which should lead to a considerable reduction of the present establishment. In the meantime, I have given directions that no vacancies in the Admiralty and dockyard clerical staffs should be filled, as there is reason to believe both are redundant.

In the course of these inquiries it has been made clear that the number of workmen in the various yards are in excess of the work to be performed. The Board have therefore commenced to bring down the establishments to the necessary level; it is, however, satisfactory to know that though the number of empleyés has diminished, the output of work per man has increased, and the demand for, and consumption of, material used in proportion to the men employed, is on the increase.