HC Deb 12 March 1947 vol 434 cc1328-30
51. Mr. Mikardo

asked the Minister of Defence what is the composition of the Committee, or Committees, at present investigating the use of manpower in the Services; whether the investigation is being made in a form, and to standards common to all three Services, or separate for each; what proportion of the members of the Committee, or Committees, are Service personnel, and what proportion civilians; how many of them have experience in such subjects as operation study, office mechanisation, etc.; and whether the Organisation and Methods Division of the Treasury, and the Organisation and Methods Sections of the Service Ministries have been consulted in the investigation.

Mr. Alexander

The initiative in this matter was taken by the Service Departments themselves, and the form of investigation varies with the particular needs of each Service. In all cases, however, both military and civilian personnel are engaged on the work and the organisation and methods experts are consulted. I am circulating further details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Mikardo

Will the details which my right hon. Friend is circulating assure the House that this inquiry is being made seriously and scientifically with the purpose of finding out whether establishments have been reduced and not with the object of justifying the status quo?

Mr. Alexander

Perhaps my hon. Friend will study the statement, and if he has further points perhaps he will let me have them.

Following are the details:

Royal Navy

The Admiralty have largely completed a comprehensive expert review of the organisation and manning of certain technical branches of the Royal Navy; they have recently appointed a permanent complement committee under the Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel to control the settlement of complements of H.M. Ships and shore establishments. To assist this committee in its work, a special body has been set up to examine and revise the normal rules of assessment of complements in H.M. Ships. Four civilians are serving on these committees. All the members of the committees have considerable experience in the questions involved, and can seek advice and assistance from Admiralty departments, including the organisation and methods branch, on particular aspects of their work


A War Office committee, under an experienced general officer, is reviewing methods and processes in ordnance establishments, with a view to manpower saving. This committee includes two civilian and one military officer. In addition, an experienced accountant, Sir Charles Palmour, has been appointed to examine Army methods of store-keeping, assisted by a civilian expert specially appointed for the purpose; the organisation and methods branch is taking part in both these investigations. Instructions have been issued for the reduction of units to their appropriate peace establishment, and a special military investigation is now being carried out to prune the staffs of training establishments.

Air Ministry

The Air Ministry have a standing committee, with sub-committees in overseas theatres, to ensure a continuous review of establishments. They have recently decided to carry out a review of the methods of manning and use of manpower in the Royal Air Force, and for this purpose have appointed a special committee, which includes two civilian members of standing in the industrial world. The organisation and methods experts of the Air Ministry are consulted as occasion requires.