HC Deb 13 March 1923 vol 161 cc1265-6
41. Brigadier-General SPEARS

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War what are the duties of the Department of the War Office Registry and the total personnel of each grade, and the cost of this Department, now and in 1913?

Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS

As the answer to this question is very long, I will, with the hon. and gallant Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

The numbers by grades of the Registry staff in 1913 and at present are as follows:—

Grade. No.
Chief Examiner 1
Staff Clerk 1
Second Division, Higher Grade 14
Second Division 13
Assistant Clerk 7
Boy Clerk 3
Principal Presskeeper 1
Assistant Principal Presskeeper 2
Established Presskeeper 22
Grade. No.
Senior Staff Clerk 1
Staff Clerk 1
Higher Clerical 7
Junior Executive 1
Second Division, Higher Grade 1
Clerical Officer 34
Temporary Clerk (Ex-Soldiers) 50
Copyist 1
Principal Presskeeper 1
Assistant Principal Presskeeper 2
Established Presskeeper 22
Temporary Presskeeper 11
(including 9 to be released by the end of March).

Excluding those about. to be released, the present staff of the Registry is less than twice the size of the staff in 1913, despite the fact that the volume of incoming correspondence received in the office—over which the Department can exercise no control—is still more than twice the pre-War volume and amounts to well over a million letters a year.

The total cost of the staff in 1913 was£11,297. The cost at the present time is £31,662 inclusive of bonus.

The duties of this Central Registry, which serves the whole office, are as follows:

Receipt, registration and distribution of letters etc.—Despatch of letters, books and parcels. Daily record of transit of registered papers. Custody of registered papers. Index of important decisions. Despatch of correspondence for Military Commands and for Missions abroad. General correspondence with General Post Office on postal etc. matters. Weeding of War Office papers with a view to the destruction of those now obsolete. Encoding, decoding and distribution of telegrams.

In addition to the above staff, there is a small temporary section of retired civil servants re-employed who are engaged in the task of weeding the very large number of papers which have accumulated during the War.