§ 13 and 14. Mr. Beswick
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) what increase in establishment or upgrading of status of officers is contemplated for the Information Services in the North Rhine-Westphalia region;
(2) what new officers have been or are to be appointed to the Information Services in the North Rhine-Westphalia region; what are their qualifications; and whether any junior officers in the same service in the same region are being up-graded.
The Minister of State (Mr. McNeil)
No increase in the number of information officers in the North Rhine-Westphalia region is contemplated. On the contrary, it is proposed to reduce their total number by two. There will be some upgrading of status in the remaining posts so that information officers of a sufficiently high standard may be retained in the service or recruited to it. In the course of this re-arrangement one new officer has been appointed and three others recommended for appointment to information services in the North Rhine-Westphalia region. They have either journalistic qualifications or a specialised knowledge of foreign affairs. A Civil Service selection board in London was satisfied as to their suitability. Three officers who were in posts before the new appointment will be recommended for promotion when a new establishment is approved.
§ Mr. Beswick
Am I to understand that although the total is being reduced, yet four new officers are being brought in from outside? Why could not suitable applicants have been found among people already employed?
I am assured that the most rigorous scrutiny was made of the people in the service. These new appointments demand specialised qualifications, and we have to look outside the service at least for some of them.
§ Mr. Beswick
Am I to understand that the Minister is dissatisfied with the way in which these services have been carried on?
No, but I never have been satisfied. That is why we have had to look for people with specialist qualifications.