§ 39. Mr. GIBBS
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to a case at the Old Street Police Court, on 8th July, in which one Blackburn is alleged to have engaged, through the medium of the Camden Town Labour Exchange, Miss Jessie Gardiner to collect funds for a charity as to the 869 bona fides of which some doubt was expressed in court; whether it is customary to secure the addresses of employers seeking workpeople at the Exchanges; and whether instructions have been issued to the Labour Exchange staff not to assist the police authorities in prosecuting inquiries?
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. Robertson)
My attention has been drawn to a newspaper report of the case in question. I understand that Miss Gardiner was engaged by Mr. Blackburn through the Camden Town Labour Exchange. The addresses of employers seeking workpeople are obtained in the ordinary course. As regards the last part of the question, information obtained by Labour Exchange officials in the course of their duties is, in the interests, both of employers and workpeople, regarded as confidential, and is not, in ordinary circumstances, communicated to third parties. It has been usual to make an exception to this rule in the case of inquiries received from the police, but in order to ensure that information is not given to unauthorised persons, Labour Exchange managers have been instructed that it may only be given in response to a written request from a responsible officer of police. The above instructions were observed by the Labour Exchange manager in the present case.