HC Deb 21 February 1898 vol 53 cc1195-6

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, as in the time of Miss Abrahams, ex-superintending inspector of factories, the sanction of the lady principal inspector is the only authority required by the women inspectors for prosecution in case of infringement of the Factory Acts; whether the present lady principal inspector shares as Miss Abrahams did in the councils of the department; and whether the women inspectors have power to order structural alterations for ventilation and the fencing of machinery?


No, Sir; the sanction of the Principal Lady Inspector now requires to be endorsed by the Chief Inspector, as is the case with the Inspector of Particulars. I hardly know what the hon. Member means by the "councils of the Department," but the Principal Lady Inspector is fully consulted by the Chief Inspector in the same way as heads of other branches of the staff. As regards cases of structural alterations, the present arrangement is that the lady inspector furnishes particulars of the defects she finds, and remedies she suggests to the district inspector, and then, unless it is otherwise arranged between them, the district inspector deals with the case, keeping the lady inspector informed of the action taken, and subsequently forwarding, through the superintending inspector, to the chief inspector, a report of the communication received from the lady inspector, the action taken, and the result. It is found that these cases can be more satisfactorily dealt with by the inspector resident in the district, and at the same time the lady inspector is set free for other and more important work.