HC Deb 12 June 1947 vol 438 cc1437-8
Mr. Ede

I beg to move, in page 20, line 9, to leave out from "officers," to the first "of," in line 11.

I think it would be convenient if we took with this Amendment the next Amendment, in page 20, line 12, at the end, to insert: (b) the procedure for the appointment by a fire authority of members, other than the chief officer, of any such brigade. In the Standing Committee my hon. Friends the Members for South Salford (Mr. Hardy) and Gorton (Mr. Oldfield), moved an Amendment the effect of which would have been to deprive the Secretary of State of power to make regulations regarding the method and qualifications for the appointment and promotion of members of fire brigades other than chief officers. In the discussion I satisfied the Committee, I think, as to the need for retaining the regulation—making power contained in Clause 19 (1, b and c) relating to qualifications for appointment and promotion procedure. I undertook to draw a distinction between the method of appointing chief officers and the method of appointment of other officers of fire brigades, to make it clear that the appointment of persons other than chief officers should be the responsibility of the fire authorities.

These Amendments have been discussed with the County Councils Association and the Association of Municipal Corporations. The latter body is satisfied with both of them. The County Councils Association are satisfied with the first, but are not particularly enamoured of the second. I am bound to say that I attach considerable importance to the second Amendment. I think it is important that a man who is brought into the service of a local authority, especially where his entry into the service involves him in entrance into a specialised superannuation fund like the fire service pension fund, ought definitely to be appointed by the authority, and not by the chief officer. Therefore, I am glad to think my views on this matter are shared by the Association of Municipal Corporations. I think they are sound, and should be embodied in the Bill. That matter is provided for in the second of the Amendments to which I am directing the attention of the House. The chief officer of the fire brigade would be appointed by the local authority, subject to the approval, after the appointment has been made, of the Secretary of State. These two Amendments, I think, carry out the whole of the pledges I gave to the Committee in this matter, and I commend them to the House.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 20, line 12, at end, insert: (b) the procedure for the appointment by a fire authority of members, other than the chief officer, of any such brigade "—[Mr. Ede.]