HC Deb 23 June 1893 vol 13 cc1774-5
MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)

I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether be is aware that on successive occasions there have been recommended for promotion to the rank of second class assistant superintendent at Edinburgh two officers of the "clerks" class, who are not, and never have been, capable of performing the duties of an officer of the lowest grade of operators, but who, as assistant superintendents, will be called upon to supervise operators of all classes; whether he is aware that the vacancy has existed since August, 1892, and that the duties during that interval have been discharged by men whose practical knowledge is indisputable; and is it intended that these men, who, in some instances, possess longer service, shall be superseded?


The hon. Member appears to be under a slight misapprehension. The fact is, that last autumn a clerk on the Telegraph Establishment in Edinburgh was recommended for promotion to a vacancy then existing on the second class of assistant superintendents. This clerk was second on his class, and, although in other respects an excellent officer, I was not satisfied that he possessed the necessary technical knowledge, as the special duties he had been performing had excluded him from the opportunity of acquiring it. In this respect, he and the senior clerk on the class, who was also an excellent officer, stood on the same footing, and before deciding the matter I considered that an opportunity should be afforded to them both of showing whether they could acquire the necessary technical knowledge. For this purpose, a certain period of probation was fixed, and until that period has expired the matter will not be decided. It is obvious that until the technical knowledge was acquired, the clerk recommended could not he placed on the duty, and that, in the meantime, this duty had to be otherwise provided for.


Thou, as a matter of fact, since the recommendation was made, the gentleman recommended has been engaged in acquiring the necessary knowledge for the post. Is it to the interest of the Public Service that he should be given a year in which to learn his duties?


He was allowed six mouths, and not a year. In all other respects he was thoroughly well qualified for the post.