HC Deb 17 April 1905 vol 145 cc281-3
MR. HAVILAND BURKE (King's County, Tullamore)

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that Poor Law and other local officers previous to being sanctioned by the Local Government Board have to sign a query sheet promising to conform to certain regula- tions issued by the Local Government Board, and in existence at the time of appointment, and that these regulations or duties are specified under the headings of the different offices; and will he say whether any officer who complies with the regulations prescribed for his office and discharges the duties accordingly, can be disturbed in his tenure of office by either the local authority under whom he serves or by the Local Government Board; and, if so, to state the Act of Parliament and the section; whether there is any rule laid down in the Local Government Board office for determining the punishments to be meted out to the Poor Law and other local officers for transgression of or dereliction in the discharge of duty; and whether there have ever been any instances in which Poor Law officers have been dismissed by the Local Government Board without their boards of guardians ever having been apprised of bad marks being made against them in the Local Government Board offices; and, if so, will he state the cases and the causes which led to such action.

(Answered by Mr. Walter Long.) Poor Law officers are required to sign query I sheets with the view of eliciting information as to their history and qualifications. They do not sign any promise to conform to the statutory regulations of the Board, for these they are bound to obey. The Local Government Board can, either upon or without any suggestion or complaint from the guardians, remove any; ordinary paid officer whom they may I deem unfit for or incompetent to discharge the duties of his office, or who shall refuse to obey or carry out the orders of the Board (1 and 2 Vic, c. 58, s. 33). They can also remove dispensary doctors on sufficient grounds (14 and 15 I Vic, c. 68, s. 8). Under Section 86 of; the Local Government Act of 1898 any officer who wilfully fails or refuses to perform any duty or do anything required of him by the Act or the Orders of the Local Government Board is liable to a fine not exceeding 40s., or 40s. per day if the offence is a continuing one, There is no such rule as is mentioned, each case being dealt with on its merits. Records of officers' misconduct are kept, but not by means of bad marks. It is not the practice of the Board to dismiss an officer without first communicating with the guardians on the subject of the officer's default.