HC Deb 11 June 1942 vol 380 cc1247-9
61. Mr. William Brown

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he will arrange for the setting-up of joint committees in Civil Service Departments with a view to the more effective utilisation of man-power and the more efficient discharge of public business on lines similar to the production committees which have been set up in industry?

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Captain Crookshank)

The Whitley system has been in operation in Civil Service Departments since 1919. Among the functions of Whitley Councils are, first, the provision of the best means for utilising the ideas and experience of the staff, and, secondly, the improvement of office machinery and organisation, and the provision of opportunities for the full consideration of suggestions by the staff on this subject. In these circumstances I do not see the need for setting up special machinery of the kind referred to by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Brown

Is the Minister aware that the Whitley Council has not been able to function adequately on this question of man-power, that that fact has been represented to the Treasury, and that the Treasury has said that it has no power to bring Departments into line? In view of the waste of man-power which is going on in the public service, what is the Minister's suggestion to put the matter right if he will not accept my suggestion?

Captain Crookshank

I should like to consider all those questions, but, of course, the facts are as stated in my reply.

62. Mr. Brown

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that Mr. J. C. Rodgers, while employed at the Ministry of Information, was reserved from military service owing to the supposedly important nature of his post; that when transferred to the Department of Overseas Trade he was still reserved from military service; that his post was abolished as unnecessary and he was given notice of discharge; that he has now been further reserved from military service on being appointed secretary to a committee in the Ministry of Production; whether he will investigate the circumstances in which this man of 35 years of age has another protected appointment; and whether he is satisfied that there are no men over military age capable of filling satisfactorily this post?

Captain Crookshank

There is not and never was any question of Mr. Rodgers being reserved as an individual. He is well above the reservation age for his grade, which is temporary administrative officer. I have, however, looked into the circumstances of his appointment as Deputy Adviser of Industrial Publicity at the Ministry of Production. He left the Department of Overseas Trade in consequence of a decline, as a result of the war situation, of certain of the functions of that Department, and took up his present appointment on the following day. There was thus no break in his Civil Service employment. The formation of a new Department such- as the Ministry of Production naturally demands the recruitment of a new staff, and I am satisfied that this particular appointment was justifiable.

Mr. Harold Nicolson

On a point of Order. Is it customary or fair that the name of a civil servant—and in this respect a temporary civil servant is in the same position as a civil servant—should be mentioned in the Order Paper in such a manner as may cause him public damage?

Mr. Speaker

There is no irregularity in mentioning the name of a civil servant on a matter of the kind referred to in the Question.