HC Deb 18 June 1940 vol 362 c25
50. Mr. Graham White

asked the Prime Minister whether it is his intention to review conditions in the public offices, and to make such changes in methods as may seem necessary, to secure the devolution of authority in the lower levels so that decisions may be hastened, bottle-necks removed, and the transaction of business generally expedited?

Mr. Attlee

In recent years the policy of devolution of authority has been steadily pursued throughout the public service, and Departments are alive to the necessity for taking all possible steps in the direction suggested by my hon. Friend.

Sir Herbert Williams

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the ordinary way one cannot get an answer on any subject whatever under about a fortnight or three weeks?

Mr. Attlee

I am not aware of that.

Sir H. Williams

Will the right hon. Gentleman make inquiries?

Mr. Attlee

Perhaps the hon. Member will send me instances.

Mr. White

In view of the great congestion which exists and which seriously interferes with the business relating to the war, will the right hon. Gentleman make inquiries?

Mr. Attlee

I can assure the hon. Member that every endeavour is being made to prevent bottle-necks and the stopping of business, and that every effort is being made to expedite business by giving such devolution of authority as is possible. subject, of course, to a proper co-ordination of effort.

Mr. Hicks

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the country will be particularly happy to receive the information that the Departments are alive?

Mr. Levy

Do not these delays show that there is a lack of organisation in the Departments, and that if the right hon. Gentleman says he is not aware of these delays, it does not necessarily follow that they are not continuous and persistent?