HC Deb 07 August 1896 vol 44 cc100-1
MR. H. KIMBER (Wandsworth)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that a large number of persons, styled "personal clerks" or "hired writers," not on the permanent establishment of the Civil Service, but appointed personally by Heads of Departments without examination, and whose salaries are paid out of an annual lump sum allowance placed at the disposal of such Heads, have been for several years past employed on purely clerical duties in various Government Departments, and on work which would appear to be of a strictly permanent character; whether, in relation to such employment, he has considered Paragraph 24 of the Treasury Minute of 10th August 1889, in which the system under which these men are employed is condemned: whether such employment is in pursuance of the above-named Treasury Minute (Paragraph 26), adopting the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Civil Establishments; whether, before authorising the employment of personal clerks or hired writers in the manner above stated, he has satisfied himself that the work to be performed by them is of such a nature that it cannot fitly be provided for in the manner indicated in the said Minute; and whether he will cause inquiry to be made with the view of ascertaining to what extent the provisions referred to in the said Minute have been carried out, and of limiting the employment of such personal clerks and hired writers to strictly temporary work which cannot be provided for in the manner indicated in the said Minute?


My right hon. Friend asks me to say that he does not know if the Question is intended to include clerks in the offices of Solicitors to Public Departments. As to them he has nothing to add to his answer to the hon. Member on 12th May last. As regards the hon. Member's other Questions, my right hon. Friend is not aware that persons are temporarily employed and paid as the hon. Member describes on work of a strictly permanent character. He does not consider that the Treasury Minute of 10th August 1889, forbids the employment of temporary personal clerks on work which is of a temporary character, or which is subject to such variations of amount as not to permit of a fixed permanent staff. Before sanctioning the employment of such persons, the Treasury require in each case to be satisfied that the work is such as has been described, so no further inquiry seems necessary.