HC Deb 26 October 1955 vol 545 c192
23. Mr. Braine

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many vacancies there are for administrative officers in the Colonial administrative service.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

There are at present about 215 vacancies in the administrative branch of the Oversea Civil Service.

Mr. Braine

Can my right hon. Friend confirm that the number of vacancies is greater than it was a year ago? Can he further say whether he is satisfied that the present conditions in the Service are attracting men of the right calibre, and whether continuing thought is being given to the idea of still further reforming the Oversea Service?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

It is rather difficult and unwise to compare one year with another, because establishment needs in different territories increase or decrease from year to year. This year, for example, 66 of the 215 vacancies are for Northern Rhodesia, which is a comparatively recent demand, but, of course, there are difficulties in the way of recruitment which I am at all times anxious to meet, and any help or publicity I can get I shall most gladly welcome.

Mr. Snow

I notice that the right hon. Gentleman confined his answer to administrative officers. Is it not a fact that vacancies are much more numerous in respect of other allied services, and is it not a fact that there is a feeling of insecurity of tenure by many of these expatriate officers?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I saw what was—if I may say so—the admirable letter in "The Times" today by the hon. Gentleman, and I believe I am having a discussion with him shortly about a matter which must, I think, cause anxiety to all Members of all parties in this House, namely, the maintenance of tranquil government before the period of self-government in various territories can emerge. I am only too anxious to treat this, as I hope it will be treated, as a non-party matter.