HC Deb 02 March 1955 vol 537 cc2049-50
36. Mr. Alport

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware of the damage caused to the efficient administration of Colonial Territories by the frequent changes of Colonial Service officers from one part to another; and what action he intends to take to prevent this in the future.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am afraid that I do not agree with the implications of this Question. In proportion to the size of the Oversea Civil Service the number of transfers is not unduly high, nor are officers transferred, without very special reason, before completing a reasonable time in a particular post. No doubt transfers may occasionally lead to some lack of continuity, but this is far outweighed by the wider experience which the policy of interchangeability enables officers to bring to their subsequent tasks, and by the fact that a career confined to one particular territory might not attract officers of the calibre required.

Mr. Alport

Will my right hon. Friend make an inquiry over, say, the last five years, about the average length of time that district officers and provincial officers in certain selected territories have held their appointments?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I will certainly look into that sympathetically.

Mr. Baldwin

May I reinforce what my hon. Friend said and ask my right hon. Friend to look at the matter again, because we are aware that these officers are promoted; and would not it be possible to increase their pay and let them stay on a job rather than move somewhere else from a post in which they have done excellent work?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I will certainly follow up the suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport), but the fact that the career is open to all Colonial Territories for each individual officer is a very strong help in recruitment.

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