HC Deb 04 August 1942 vol 382 cc845-6
47. Mr. William Brown

asked the Prime Minister whether he is now able to announce the Government's decision on recommendations made to him to separate the function of the control of the Civil Service from that of the Permanent Secretary of the Civil Service?

The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

This matter has been considered, and, as my hon. Friend will have seen, Sir Richard Hopkins, G.C.B., has been appointed as Permanent Secretary to the Treasury and Official Head of His Majesty's Civil Service.

Mr. Brown

Are we to assume that the Government have completely rejected the idea of separating these two quite different functions, and, if that is so, will the right hon. Gentleman say so definitely?

Mr. Attlee

The appointment made is as I have replied. The point the hon. Member has put was fully considered and rejected.

Sir P. Harris

Has the giving of this title of Head of the Civil Service to the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury any legal status, or is it done on the action of the Government?

Mr. Attlee

I do not think it is done under Statute, but I understand it has been in use for 70 years.

Sir William Davison

Has this official any control in the particular Department apart from supervising the finances?

Mr. Attlee

Obviously he does not control the Department. His duties in his position as Head of the Civil Service have been set out in great detail, I cannot set them all out now, but it is not a matter of detailed control of the Department.

Mr. Brown

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the head of the Treasury is also head of the Establishments Division of the Treasury, and that the Establishments Division exercises very close control over all kinds of staff questions in all the Departments? Is he not further aware that Treasury control is regarded by administrators and staff alike as improperly vested in that Department and that it ought to be vested elsewhere?

Mr. Attlee

I am aware of the hon. Member's point of view.