§ 43. Lieut.-Colonel POWNALL
asked the Prime Minister whether it is the rule in the Civil Service for adverse confidential reports not to be communicated to the individual affected; and, if so, whether this procedure can be brought into line with that adopted in the Army?
At present there is no uniform system in the Civil Service in re- 599 gard to reports on an officer's character or efficiency in the discharge of his duties. The procedure varies in different Departments. The desirability of securing, so far as possible, that no civil servant shall be prejudiced by an adverse report with out having been accorded an opportunity of offering any explanation is fully recognised, and an agreement on the following terms has been arrived at by the Civil Service National Whitley Council:—
The Promotions Committee therein referred to has issued an Interim Report recommending the institution of a system of annual reports, and providing for the communication of any adverse particulars to the individuals concerned. This has not yet been confirmed, but His Majesty's Government are prepared to adopt the recommendations contained in it.
- (a) Except in cases which may give rise to criminal proceedings, full particulars of any charge against an officer's conduct shall be communicated to him in writing before any disciplinary action is decided upon.
- (b) The procedure to be adopted in the case of reports affecting promotion is a matter for the consideration of the Promotions Committee.
- (c) When a report upon an officer in circumstances not covered by paragraphs (a) or (b) reflects adversely upon his character or efficiency in the performance of his duties, he shall be informed of the defects attributed to him in order to enable him to offer any explanation before the report is placed on record.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
Is it really proposed that where the head of one Department asks the head of another Department to give his opinion of a particular official, he cannot do so without having that opinion reported to the official in question, and the whole particulars of the criticism laid before him? Is it possible to carry on any business under such restrictions as this?
No, Sir. I think the arrangement to which I refer certainly could not be interpreted as preventing any reasonable interchange of that sort. It simply refers to the official reports on which promotion depends.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
Is it not the case that the reports are all in the form of verbal communications and that no head of a Department in his senses would ever commit himself to a written report?