HC Deb 22 March 1934 vol 287 cc1365-7

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (1) whether the police inspector recently selected to fill the post of chief warder in the Science Museum has taken up his duties; what salary he is to be paid as chief warder in the Science Museum; what his pension will be as the result of his police service; and whether his new appointment will qualify him for a further pension;

(2) what representations through the authorised channels were received from the museums staff or any other body in connection with the appointment of a police inspector to fill the post of chief warder in the Science Museum; and whether, as the chief warder's post at the Science Museum has been filled by an outsider, he will state what avenues of promotion are open to the museum's warding staff;

(3) whether there is any difference in the type of the general public who visit the Science Museum and those who visit the Board's Art Museum which make it necessary to appoint a police inspector as chief warder in the Science Museum?


I apologise to the House for the length of this answer. The officer selected to fill the post of chief warder at the Science Museum will, it is understood, be free to take up his duties shortly. The salary attaching to the post is at the rate of £5 7s. 9d. per week, and as a result of his police service the officer in question will be eligible for a pension of £234 per annum. The post of chief warder is an established post, the holder of which is eligible for superannuation allowances. Representations in connection with this appointment were received from the staff side of the Museums' Whitley Council, the Government Minor and Manipulative Grades Association, and the Transport and General Workers' Union, urging that the post should be filled by promotion from the existing staff. Members of the warding staff are eligible for promotion to posts of supervising warder, first and second class, and also to the post of chief warder, provided a suitable candidate is available. The number of visitors to the Science Museum considerably exceeds that making use of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and includes a large proportion of children and young persons. The warding staff of the Science Museum consists largely of ex-policemen, whose previous training and experience have been found over a long period to meet the requirements of the museum efficiently, and my Noble Friend is satisfied that it is desirable that the officer in control of this staff should himself have had such training and experience.


Arising out of the answer, for which I thank the hon. Gentleman, may I ask whether he is aware that the existing staff at this museum includes three people all of whom are ex-police officials, that these three members of the staff were interviewed by the selection board with a view to appointment to this higher post, that five other persons, also ex-policemen, were invited by the selection board, and that, nevertheless, the appointment of some person is being made other than one of those who were interviewed by the selection board?


Yes, I am aware of that fact, but the position is quite simple. The qualifications of the existing staff have been fully considered, but the selection board came to the conclusion that none of them was quite suitable for the appointment, and they therefore went outside to find a candidate who was.


Having regard to the fact that it appears to be the practice not to appoint members of the existing staff to the higher positions, what possible promotion can there be for the existing warders in this museum?


I cannot accept the hon. Member's premise. It so happens that on this occasion none of the candidates on the existing staff was considered quite suitable, and the selection board therefore went outside to find one who was.